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Study Snacks: Braised Pork Belly

Did you know that nearly one-third of Florida Tech’s on-campus students are from outside the United States, representing more than 100 nations? To give our international students a taste of home, the Panther Dining cafeteria regularly features food from around the world.

To bring that same joy of diversity to our Study Snacks series, we are featuring dishes that celebrate Florida Tech’s international students. Our fifth recipe is perfect for an online student, since you can let it simmer for an hour while you study. Braised Pork Belly, or hongshao rou, is a famous Chinese dish originating in Shanghai. With bite-sized morsels of pork braised in a glistening sauce, this meal is traditional and exciting.

A tip for those making this for the first time: after boiling the pork belly, it’s essential to get a nice caramelization on the meat as it simmers in the salty sweet sauce to avoid a rubbery texture. If the sauce is too salty or too sweet, simply add more sugar or soy sauce as needed. The meat should be fork-tender, and the sauce should be thick and covering the pork belly. Some versions of this recipe call for hard-boiled eggs, tofu knots and squid, so feel free to experiment after mastering the technique. This recipe serves 6-8 people.

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. pork belly
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1-2 dried chilies whole (such as chile de arbol)
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger (sliced thin)
  • 3 cloves garlic (sliced thin)
  • 2 tbsp. ground anise or 2 whole star anise
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup Shao Xing wine (Chinese rice wine or substitute dry sherry)
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1 small can water chestnuts (sliced)

    Directions

    1. Cut the pork belly into 2” cubes. Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil.
    2. Add pork and cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove from water and discard the water.
    3. Place the pot over medium heat and add stock, sugars, cinnamon, chilies, ginger, garlic, anise, soy sauce and wine, and mix together until sugar dissolves.
    4. Add the pork and bring to a simmer.
    5. Cover the pot and reduce heat, continue to simmer for 45-60 minutes until the pork is slightly tender.
    6. Remove cover and increase heat to medium. Reduce liquid until it has a syrup like consistency, stirring frequently, remove from heat and add the green onions and water chestnuts.
    7. Serve with jasmine rice and enjoy!

    Note: The pork will give off quite a bit of fat. If you let the dish rest for 2-3 minutes most can be skimmed off the top.

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