I love pork belly, but I haven’t made it for the blog in a long time. This is a very easy recipe that tastes wonderful.
To me, the key spice is the five-spice powder, which imparts a nice complexity to the dish.
This goes well over white or jasmine rice.
What you’ll need
- 1 pound pork belly, cut into small to mid-size strips
- Cooking oil for sautéing the pork belly
- One small onion or 4 medium shallots, roughly chopped
- 5 or 6 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and roughly chopped (the shrooms, not the stems). If reconstituting dried shiitake, reserve the soaking liquid.
- 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 or 2 pinches of ground white, black or Szechuan pepper
- 1t five-spice powder
- 0.75 cups sake or Asian cooking wine
- 0.33 cups dark soy sauce—if you have only one kind of soy sauce, don’t sweat it.
- 0.33 cups light soy sauce
- 20g brown sugar, chopped palm sugar or raw sugar
- 1.5 cups (about one standard can) mushroom, chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 cup mushroom soaking water, optional
- Hard-boiled eggs, optional, as an accompaniment
- Blanched whole spinach leaves, optional as an accompaniment
What to do
Heat a wok or large frypan over medium heat and add a bit of cooking oil. When the wok heats up, sauté the pork belly—stirring often—until it is slightly browned and the fat starts to render.
Move the pork belly aside, then add the shallot/onion and sauté it for a few minutes, followed by the mushrooms for another two minutes of sautéing. Now add the garlic and sauté it for a minute. Be careful that the garlic doesn’t scorch; scorched garlic will ruin the dish.
Add the five-spice powder, pepper, sake, the soy sauces and the sugar. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Now add the stock and mushroom soaking liquid, if using.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then quickly lower the heat, cover it and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. The longer you simmer it, the more tender the pork belly supposedly gets, but I’m skeptical of that. 30 minutes will fully cook it.
Serve over rice with hard-boiled eggs and blanched greens.