Tasty braised Chinese pork belly


Chinese pork belly is cooked twice and then braised in soy sauce, Chinese wine, ginger, garlic, and five-spice to make this incredibly delicious dish

One of the most popular dishes in our household is this braised Chinese pork belly. We eat it regularly – my kids just love the soft, tender meat and the tasty sauce that goes with it. And, served alongside steamed rice and green vegetables, it makes for an easy but filling meal. We also have it as one of the star dishes on the table as part of a bigger meal, alongside other dishes like pork spare ribs and dumplings, when we have more guests over for dinner.

Twice cooked pork belly - Cook Simply

Origins of braised Chinese pork belly?

This recipe for twice-cooked pork has been passed down to me from my mum who, in turn, learned it from my grandma. It is a staple Chinese meal and you will find different variations but ultimately, the pork belly is cooked in several ingredients until it becomes melt-in-the-mouth tender, glistening with a flavourful sauce.

In China, this dish is known as Hong Shao Rou, which translates to red braised pork belly because of the reddish hue and sheen that the pork is covered in. My recipe isn’t as sweet – Hong Shao Rou calls for rock sugar to be used, whereas I like to go easy on the sweetness. However, if you have a sweet tooth, by all means, add more sugar.

How to make braised Chinese pork with five spices?

The first thing to do is to heat water in a large wok and pan, and blanche the pork for 10 minutes. You’ll notice the cloudy foam in the water, and this method helps cook the meat and remove any impurities. Once this has been done, drain the meat and run under cold water to get rid of any remaining nasty bits, and set it aside. 

Once you’ve combined the soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, sugar, oyster sauce, and five-spice, set to one side ready to add later. Using the same wok, heat the oil, and then throw in the garlic, ginger, spring onions, and the pork belly. Brown the meat and stir well, and then add the soy mixture. Add the water, then cover and cook on a low simmer for at least an hour, until the meat is tender. I find 1 hour 15 minutes is the perfect time for me. 

You may find that the sauce is the right consistency, however, if you feel it’s too thin, you can add a cornflour mix to thicken the sauce. Add 2-3 tablespoons of cornflour to the same amount of water and mix thoroughly before adding to the pork.

Baised chinese pork belly - Cook Simply

Can I make this braised pork an Instant Pot or pressure cooker?

Absolutely and when I am short on time I do Instant Pot braised pork belly. Follow the first step of blanching the pork belly, then add all the other ingredients into your Instant Pot and pressure cooker and brown the meat in the same way and then add the sauce. Once you’re ready to cover and cook, pressure cook on high for 20 minutes. Honestly, it doesn’t need longer than this. Once I did it for 35 minutes or so and the meat disintegrated! 

Does this braised pork freeze well?

Yes. This is a perfect dish to batch cook in one go. You can put the Chinese pork in suitable containers and freeze them for up to three months. Make sure to thaw thoroughly before heating in a microwave before serving. Leftovers taste really amazing, too. They will keep in the fridge for up to three days. If we have plenty left over, we sometimes eat them with soup noodles, and vegetables.

5 from 6 votes

Twice cooked braised Chinese pork belly

A recipe passed down for generations, this simple, comforting and delicious pork is a family favourite.
Servings 4
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins


  • 1 kg pork belly sliced into 2cm cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 slices of ginger
  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 400 ml water
  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 spring onions sliced


  • Heat water in a large wok or pan and bring it to a boil. Put the pork pieces into the water and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, drain well, and put aside.
  • While the pork is cooking, in a bowl mix the soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, sugar, and five spice powder. Put aside.
  • Wipe down the wok or large pan, then inside heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to medium-high heat. Add two cloves of garlic, ginger slices, spring onions, and the pork belly slices. Let the pork begin to brown and then add the soy sauce and five spice mixture to the wok. Combine well and then add the water.
    chinese pork belly - Cook Simply
  • Turn the heat down low and cover. Cook for 75 minutes, until the pork is tender.
  • If the sauce is runny, mix the cornstarch with one tablespoon of water and then add it to the pork mixture to thicken. If you feel the liquid is reducing too much, you can add more water as needed.
  • Serve with steamed rice and stir-fried greens and enjoy!
Calories: 598kcal
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Keyword: Chinese, Pork, Simple


Calories: 598kcal

Did you make this twice-cooked pork belly?

Please let me know if you have tried this recipe for braised Chinese pork belly. Leave a comment below and tag @cooksimplyathome on Instagram. You can find other delicious meal ideas here.

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