Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pork Feast!

After a trip home to Hong Kong, I brought back with me some of my Chinese grandma's cooking skills - which means lots of slow cooked meats, lots of braising and definitely playing with tons of pork. So I started with 4 lbs of pork shoulder, which was surprisingly easy to find at my local Ralphs. I originally wanted pork belly, but they didn't have the cut...pork shoulder is a little leaner, although healthier, it didn't give the same satisfaction.

This is a Northern Chinese pork recipe, adapted from Chinese Food Recipes.


  • 2 tbsps oil
  • 2 lb pork shoulder, butt or lean sides, cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 3 slices ginger root
  • 4 scallions, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 3 whole star anise - you can get these in Asian grocery stores such as the 99 Ranch, but you can also substitute this with Chinese Five Spice Powder, the star anise has a licorice kind of flavor, so you add it really just for the oomph. It's not absolutely necessary!
  • 5 tbsps dry sherry - I substituted every tbsp of dry sherry with a tsp of vanilla extract, and 3/4 tsp of water. It's strange, but it seems to work. Any other Chinese cooking wine would work too, or rum, sweet cooking sake...just go with your senses!
  • ¾ cup soy sauce - I also added some dark soy for coloring.
  • 2 tbsps granulated or brown sugar
  • Scallion rings to garnish

  • Marinate the pork with the ginger, scallions and a little bit of soy sauce before cooking to boost the flavors.
  • Heat the oil in a pan and add the pork, ginger and scallions. Stir-fry until the pork is lightly browned.
  • Transfer the meat to a saucepan, using a slotted spoon. Reserve the ginger and scallions. Add the anise, sherry, soy sauce, sugar and sufficient water to cover the meat. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the pork is tender, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • Arrange the scallions around the edge of a warmed serving plate. Place the ginger in the center and pile the pork on top. Serve hot garnished with a few scallion rings. Then obviously, serve with rice!