Dong po rou

Braised pork belly recipe – Chinese style (Dong Po Rou)

Braised pork belly or Dong Po Rou (东坡肉) is an iconic traditional Chinese braised pork belly recipe of Hangzhou (杭州), created by Su Dong Po, a famous scholar, writer, poet, calligrapher, gastronome, and court official of the Song dynasty. Over the centuries, this dish has become very popular, and once you taste it, you’ll know why!

Legend has it that Dong Po Rou was created by accident. There are many versions of folklore tales about how Su Dong Po created this dish. According to one most gastronomically related tale, Su Dong Po was once the official at West Lake who had successfully prevented a massive flood. He organized a banquet to celebrate the event and ordered the chef to prepare stew pork and wine for the public who came to his house to congratulate him. The chef misunderstood that the wine was supposed to add into the braised pork belly instead of serving the guests. Fortunately, the dish that he thought had been ruined turned out to be a pleasant surprise, which was thoroughly enjoyed by the guests.

The prolonged stewing with wine breaks down the fat to make the braised pork belly flavorsome, succulent and give it the tender “melt-in-the-mouth” texture. It is so tender that it can easily be separated into small pieces with chopsticks. Chinese braised pork belly (Dong po rou) was thus born and eventually became the notable signature Chinese dish famous around the world.

Chinese braised pork belly recipes

Although the braised pork belly has plenty of fat (think of bacon before being cured and sliced), the lengthily stewing over low heat results in fats sans much of its greasiness. The flavors of the accompanying spring onions and ginger help to balance the greasiness of the pork, which is so tender that it can literally melt in the mouth.

Braise pork belly (Dong Po Rou) is surprisingly simple to prepare because it only involves six ingredients. You need a few hours of stewing before you can taste the fantastic evening combination of flavor and texture of the meat, which is definitely worth the wait.

pork belly

Ask for this cut of pork from your butcher

pork belly with ginger

Spring onions and ginger

braised pork belly

Dry fry the skin on a hot wok

dong po rou

Tie the pork pieces with strings


Watch this video (2.33 min)

 

Braised pork belly recipes – Chinese style (Dong Po Rou)

4.8 from 4 reviews
Braised pork belly - Chinese style
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
 
Braised pork belly is also called Dong Po Rou, a famous recipes pass down the generations since the Song dynasty
Ingredients
A
  • 1 piece (about 600g) of pork bellyChinese braised pork belly image
  • 40g of spring onions, cut to 4cm length
  • 30g of sliced ginger
B
Instructions
  1. Cut the pork into 4cm squares. Heat up the wok, put the pork skin side down to dry fry the skin until it becomes slightly brown. Remove.
  2. Place the pork in a pot of hot water and blanch for three minutes. Remove.
  3. Lay the spring onions in a crosshatch pattern at the bottom of a medium sized clay pot to form a thick even layer. The spring onions should cover the entire bottom of the pot. Lay the ginger slices evenly over the spring onion.
  4. Tie the pork pieces with a kitchen string.
  5. Arrange the pork pieces skin down on top of the spring onions.
  6. Add the remaining ingredients in B into the clay pot.
  7. Bring it to a boil with the lid on. When the liquid in the pot starts to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 90 minutes without stirring it.
  8. Turn the pork pieces skin-side up in the pot. Cover and simmer for another 90 minutes.
  9. Transfer the pork pieces to a plate. Remove the strings.
  10. Drizzle the sauce over the pork. Serve.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 1270 Fat: 23g Carbohydrates: 69g Sugar: 40g Sodium: 4.6g Protein: 165g

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9 Tips to prepare the perfect braised pork belly (Dong Po Rou)

  • Brown the skin to create flavor. Use the blade of the knife to remove any hair and impurities on the surface of the skin. Heat up the wok, put the pork skin side down to dry fry the skin until it becomes slightly brown. Dry frying is a way to create extra flavor, much like deep frying is for golden browning. Since the pork belly has plenty of fat, deep frying would leave it too only. Dry frying is a better approach.
  • Blanch the pork in water. This is an effective method to remove the gamey taste of the pork.
  • Cut the pork to 4cm square or smaller. If the pieces of pork are too big, the interior of the pork pieces will not be tender and absorb the flavor of the simmering liquid.
  • Tie with strings. Tie the pork pieces with kitchen string to prevent them from falling apart during the long stewing process.
  • Improve the flavor with aromatics. The aromatics form the foundation for the pork to prevent it from sticking to the bottom. The pork will fully absorb the flavor of the spring onions and ginger during the long hours of stewing.
  • Always use premium quality soy sauce. The quality of soy sauce is very important since there are only six ingredients used in this recipe.
  • Turn the pork pieces over once. This is important as the liquid of the stew may not fully cover the pork. Turn the pork pieces over once to ensure even cooking.
  • Use rock sugar. Rock sugar has a very clean taste. But you can substitute it with white sugar if rock sugar is not available.
  • Use low heat to simmer on. Light soy sauce can become bitter if it is simmered over high heat and will leave an unpleasant taste in the pork.
braised pork belly

Put the pork on top of the ginger

braised belly belly

Turn over the pork after 90 minutes

Tong Po Meat

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Chinese braised pork belly pin
Braised pork belly recipe – Chinese style (Dong Po Rou) was last modified: May 29th, 2017 by KP Kwan

12 Comments

  • KP Kwan

    Reply Reply June 23, 2016

    Hi, this is KP Kwan. I am happy to see you at this comment area, as you have read through my recipe. I am happy to reply any questions and comments as soon as possible.

  • Wayne

    Reply Reply June 26, 2016

    The recipe look very tempting to try. Nice photos. Not sure about the nutrition value of the soy sauce though. Kikkomam’s Less Sodium Soy Sauce for 5 tablespoons would be 2875 grams or 958 grams per serving. Giving it a 5 star, because any thing with pork belly is great.

    • KP Kwan

      Reply Reply June 26, 2016

      Dear Wayne,
      Talking about soy sauce, I have some additional points to share:
      1. Use light soy sauce, not the dark one. The color will turn darker after braising for some time.
      2. Use very low heat. If the bottom is charred, it will leave a bitter taste. Add water if necessary along the way.
      Hope you enjoy your pork belly.
      KP Kwan

  • Ashleigh Burgess

    Reply Reply September 3, 2016

    Mouth watering! I absolutely love pork belly, and I bet this is melt in the mouth good!

    • KP Kwan

      Reply Reply September 3, 2016

      Yes. Melt-in-the-mouth. The important point is be patient. Low heat, long hours of stewing is the key.

  • Jose

    Reply Reply March 21, 2017

    Great recipe ! Double recipe and served with sticky rice and stir fry greenbean. Family loved it ,melt in your mouth, cut with chopstick

    • KP Kwan

      Reply Reply March 21, 2017

      Hi Jose,

      Great to know that you and your family enjoy the braised pork belly.

      KP Kwan

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