Food for Though Column: Experiment with an authentic Chinese recipe tonight

Chinese red-cooked pork belly on a white background

(NC) This popular dish gets its signature red colour from cooking the pork in a sweet-and-savoury sauce made with caramelized sugar and soy sauce. In Chinese culture, red, the colour of fire, is a symbol of good fortune and joy; red-coloured foods are eaten for good luck.

This easy dish that can be made by anyone. Whether you want to explore Chinese cuisine or are looking for authentic ingredients that remind you of home, visit your local Real Canadian Superstore to pick up these ingredients with the rest of your groceries at low prices.

Red-Braised Pork Belly

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Serves: 6


900 g skin-on pork belly

2 tbsp (25 mL) Rooster Brand 100% pure canola oil

3 tbsp (45 mL) crushed Chinese rock sugar or granulated sugar

1/4 cup (50 mL) Chinese rice wine (Shao Hsing) or dry sherry

3 cups (750 mL) chicken broth

2 tbsp (25 mL) each Rooster Brand Superior Soy Sauce and Rooster Superior Dark Soy Sauce

1 star anise

1 cinnamon stick (2-inch/5-cm stick)

3 green onions

1 piece (2-inch/5-cm) fresh ginger, peeled

Fresh cilantro, for garnish


1. Bring large saucepan of water to a boil. Add pork and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high; cook 5 minutes. Transfer with tongs to cutting board; let cool enough to handle. Cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) chunks. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in wok or large (4-L) saucepan over low heat. Add sugar and cook while stirring until it’s melted and light brown; about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully add rice wine. Note mixture may splatter and steam.

3. Stir in pork, broth, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, star anise and cinnamon stick; bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

4. Slice 2 green onions into 2-inch (5-cm) lengths. Add ginger to cutting board; hit sliced green onions and ginger several times with back of knife to lightly bruise and crush. Stir into pork mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook until pork is fork-tender, about 1 hour.

5. Uncover, skim fat from surface of cooking liquid and discard. Increase heat to medium and cook uncovered stirring often until sauce is thick and syrupy; about 15 to 20 minutes. Discard star anise and cinnamon stick. Transfer pork mixture to serving bowls. Thinly slice remaining green onion; sprinkle over top of pork mixture. Garnish with cilantro.

Chef’s tip: If you can’t find pork belly, use 900 g boneless pork shoulder roast instead.

Nutritional information per serving: Calories 390 calories; total fat 37 g; saturated fat 13 g; sodium 220 mg; carbohydrates 6 g; fibre 0 g; sugars 5 g; protein 7 g.

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