I have made this Red Braised Pork Belly (Hong Shao Rou) a few times now and it never disappoints. With only a few ingredients it yields a flavoursome, meltingly tender dish that is fit for a celebratory dinner party or a casual Saturday evening family meal.

Red Braised Pork Belly or Hong Shao Rou is a well known dish from mainland China and this recipe is a homestyle Shanghai style version by Betty Liu. I served the Red Braised Pork Belly with these Spring Onion Flower Buns I posted a while back, torn open and stuffed with the belly, bao bun style. Absolutely delicious! You can also serve it with steamed white rice and wilted pak choi.

As real Chinese cuisine is a style of food I am not too familiar with I did not make any changes to the recipe. However, I did not have rock sugar so used standard granulated sugar and I just used light soy sauce. This dish loves it low and slow so don’t try to rush the cooking process, you want all that flavour to build over time.

I hope you enjoy this recipe for Red Braised Pork Belly (Hong Shao Rou). If you’ve made it, share it with me by tagging @heinstirred on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #heinstirred. It is always a treat to see the recipes made and enjoyed.


  • 750 g boneless pork belly
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons 60g rock sugar – 2 tablespoons finely crushed with a mortar and pestle, 2 tablespoons left whole
  • 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 250 ml chicken stock or water
  • 60 ml light soy sauce
  • 60 ml cup Shaoxing cooking wine
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 2 thin slices peeled fresh ginger
  • 4 spring onions 3 cut into 2-inch segments, one chopped


  • Bring about 5 cm of water to a boil over high in a large pot
  • Add the pork belly and boil for 3 minutes, adding more water to cover the pork if necessary
  • Drain and set aside
  • When cool enough to handle, cut the pork into 4-cm cubes
  • Heat the oil in a well-seasoned wok on low, until wisps of smoke curl up off the edges
  • Add the crushed rock sugar and stir until the sugar melts and dissolves
  • Increase the heat to medium and, working in two batches if necessary, gently slide in the chunks of pork belly. Brown all sides of the pork (a splatter screen can help keep the splattering oil contained)
  • Stir only occasionally, so that the pork can caramelize and brown
  • Add the dark soy sauce and fry for an additional minute
  • In the wok or cast iron casserole dish, combine the browned pork with the stock, light soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, remaining rock sugar, star anise, ginger, and scallion segments
  • The mixture should come three- quarters of the way up the side of the pile of pork, if not, add more stock or water
  • Bring to a boil over high, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting and simmer, partially covered, for at least 3 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking
  • The longer the pork simmers, the more tender and flavourful it will be
  • It is ready when it’s soft enough to slip a chopstick in with ease, but you can go up to 2 hours longer to build the flavour even more
  • Add more stock or water as needed as it should never be dry
  • When nearly ready to serve, remove the lid, increase the heat to high, and boil until the cooking liquid becomes a thick, dark, glistening sauce that covers the pork bell
  • If the pork belly has begun to break down (the lean meat is separating from the fatty portion), use a slotted spoon to remove the cubes before cooking down the sauce, and add the cubes of meat back in at the end
  • Adapted from Betty Liu

You can fine more delicious meal ideas in  EVERYDAY TRAYBAKES, and it is now available as a digital download.

The aim of the 18 recipes in EVERYDAY TRAYBAKES is to spark fresh cooking inspiration with new ideas and interesting flavour combinations. From Asia to the Middle East and Mediterranean, while firmly remaining within the realm of easy cooking, the book is proof that delicious, wholesome meals do not need hours of prep. The recipes range from unpretentious weeknight family dinners, spur of the moment entertaining, easy breakfasts for a crowd and modern ideas with vegetables. No book of mine will be complete with a sweet ending and there are 4 sweet baking recipes that require no special baking skills, in fact the pudding is mixed in the dish you will bake it in.

Recipes include Thai Green Curry Spatchcock Chicken, Oven Baked Masala Omelette with Paneer, Salmon and Leek Traybake with Herb Dressing, No Boil Pasta Bake with Shiitake Mushrooms and Pangrattato, Sichuan Pepper Chicken and Potatoes, Rocky Road Squares and Vanilla Milk Soak Sheet Cake

You can get the book by clicking here  ** Add Drunk and Hungry to your EVERYDAY TRAYBAKES purchase and only pay R120 ($8) for both books

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