Sweet and sticky, this melt in your mouth beer braised pork belly is simple to make and incredibly flavourful. Served it with potatoes, noodles or rice. East meets West comfort food right there!
Whenever I go to the market and pick up a pork belly, I often think it's going to be turned into a simple bacon or some form of crackling something but today was going to be different because I was craving a saucy meal which rice and the only thing I had in the fridge was a can of beer. Today is going to be a good day.
Is this super traditional? Nope - the traditional Chinese braised pork belly recipe doesn't usually have garlic and onions and most definitely not beer but caramelized garlic and onions add another dimension of flavour which go fantastic with pork belly. The final dish has a sweet, sticky and flavourful dish with hints of bitterness from the beer to offset the sweetness.
INGREDIENTS FOR BEER BRAISED PORK BELLY
- Pork Belly - Try to use pork belly for this recipe. It may seem a bit fatty but the texture from the fat is melt in the mouth and melds with the sauce.
- Beer - For the beer, I used a dark beer but that is only because I enjoy the hint of bitterness to it. If you prefer something less bitter, you can use a light beer. A few people have made this with dark beers (stouts and porters) and found it incredibly bitter. Since beers have different IBU (International Bitterness Scale), I recommend using a beer that you enjoy drinking or a light or medium beer - unless you enjoy the bitterness of dark beers.
- Broth - I like to use beef broth for this because it is a bit more robust in flavour but you can definitely substitute it with any type of broth.
- Soy Sauce/Dark Soy Sauce - For the regular soy sauce, I like to use light soy sauce. The dark soy sauce is used mainly for dark rich color, you can omit it if you can't find it or you can find it online here.
- Rice Vinegar - Rice vinegar is lighter than regular white vinegar and has more flavour. If you cannot find it, you can substitute it with half the amount of apple cider vinegar.
- Chinese Cooking Wine - You can use either the Chinese white rice cooking wine or the dark Shaoxing Cooking wine for this recipe. If you can't find either of them you can use dry sherry or find it online here.
- Chinese Five Spice Powder - This ingredient cannot be omitted or substituted since it gives this dish its flavour.
- Chinese Yellow Rock Sugar - For the sugar I used Chinese yellow rock sugar because it gives the meat and sauce that glossy sheen. It cooks down almost syrupy which is one of the traits of a good braised pork belly. This can be substituted with regular sugar.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
- Slice up the ginger and roughly smash the garlic.
- Cut the pork belly into 2cm x 3cm chunks. Don't cut them too thin or it will melt away and there won't be much to eat!
- Brown the pork belly. Add in the onions, ginger and garlic to brown as well as this will give it even more flavour.
Note: When you brown pork belly it splatters - a lot. I'm pretty sure I have splatters of grease on my ceiling - occupational hazard right? To alleviate this issue I had to literally hold up the lid like a shield against the pot and deflect the oil splatters away from me. If you foodies out there have a better method, give me a shout! 🙂
- Add all the braising liquids and spices into the pan and set the stove to high and bring everything to a vigorous boil and boil everything for 15 minutes.
- Once it has boiled for 15 minutes, reduce the heat to medium low and braise for 1 hour and 20 minutes. A lot of fat will render out of the pork belly, skim off the fat before serving.
- Serve it up with white rice, plain noodles or roasted potatoesmashed potatoes (Yep, potatoes! We liked it with fries!)
3 DIFFERENT WAYS TO ENJOY THIS BRAISED PORK BELLY!
- Rice - The easiest way to serve this is with a side of rice. The rice absorbs the sauce and it's an easy, comforting meal!
- Noodles - I also like to make this with noodles. You can use any type of noodles for this recipe. Boil it the way according to the instructions and top it with the pork belly and sauce!
- Potatoes - You can serve this with roasted potatoes or mashed potatoes but my personal favourite is dipping fries into it.
LOOKING FOR MORE EASY DINNER RECIPES? TRY THESE!
- Oven Roasted Five Spice Peking Chicken
- Sweet and Sticky Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)
- Three Cup Chicken (San Bei Ji)
- Miso Red Wine Braised Lamb Shank
DID YOU MAKE THIS BEER BRAISED PORK BELLY RECIPE?
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Beer Braised Pork Belly (Chinese Style)
- 2 lbs pork belly
- 1 onion (sliced)
- 4 x4 cm ginger (sliced)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup beer
- 3 cups beef broth
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chinese rice cooking wine
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
- 2-3 small Chinese yellow rock sugar (or 3 tablespoons of regular sugar)
- green onions (finely chopped)
- toasted sesame seeds
- Slice the ginger and onions and roughly smash the garlic
- Cut the pork belly into 2cm x 3cm chunks. (Don't cut them up too thin else they will melt away into nothing!)
- In a skillet or heavy-bottomed pot, set the heat to medium and add in the pork belly to start browning it. (Be careful at this point. Pork belly splatters a lot! Use a lid as a shield to deflect some of that hot oil away from you, if you have to!)
- When you have browned the pork belly halfway through, add in the onions, garlic and ginger to brown them as well.
- Once all the pork belly has been browned, add in the five spice, beer, rice vinegar, broth, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, shaoxing cooking wine, sugar.
- Set the stove to high and bring everything to a vigorous boil and boil it for 15 minutes
- Once everything has boiled for 15 minutes, set the stove to medium-low to low heat. You want the braising liquid to be doing a low rolling boil. Check on the pot at the 45-minute mark to make sure the sauce hasn't reduced to less than half the amount of liquid and that it isn't burning. If the sauce is a syrupy consistency, then it's done. If the sauce hasn't reduced to a syrupy consistency, cook it for another 35 minutes but check on it every 10 minutes. (For a total of 1 hour and 20 minutes)
- If it still hasn't reached that syrupy consistency, continue to cook it for 5-10 more minutes until the sauce has thickened.
- Serve with white rice, plain noodles or roasted potatoesmashed potatoes (we liked fries! 🙂 )
- IMPORTANT UPDATE: Update 08/29/18: A few people have made this with dark beers (stouts and porters) and found it incredibly bitter. Since beers have different IBU (International Bitterness Scale), I recommend using a beer that you enjoy drinking or a light or medium beer - unless you enjoy the bitterness of dark beers.
- During the simmering process a lot of the fat will render out of the pork belly. Skim off the fat so there isn't a layer of grease before serving.
- Pork belly splatters a lot during the browning process! Use a lid as a shield to deflect some of that hot oil away from you
- An alternative to pork belly that this also works with is pork ribs or pork hocks! 🙂 Cut up the pork ribs into individual ribs and use the same directions.
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