Braised pork belly in fermented tofu

Braised pork belly in fermented tofu

By
From
Chinese Unchopped
Serves
4
Prep
30 mins
Cooking time
135 mins
Photographer
Martin Poole

Ingredients like fermented tofu and eggs provide a great way of thickening sauces without the use of cornflour. The fermented red tofu used here has an intensely salty flavour if eaten alone, which is very much an acquired taste. However, when it’s made into a paste and cooked into this braising liquid, it adds a silky finish to the sauce and gives a real depth of flavour. This dish, a favourite of my dad’s, is a family meal we had often – its intense flavour is perfect paired with rice and something light and fresh like a Flash-fried Morning Glory or Pickled Lotus Root and Spinach.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 eggs
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 x 600g pork belly piece
450ml hot water

The sauce

Quantity Ingredient
1 cube fermented red tofu
1 tablespoon fermented tofu liquid
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon chinkiang black rice vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Method

  1. For the sauce, put the fermented tofu and liquid into a small bowl or ramekin and crush it with the base of a teaspoon to form a paste, then mix together with the dark soy sauce, black vinegar, sugar and sesame oil.
  2. Hard-boil the eggs and then peel them. Once peeled, cut three small lines vertically into each egg while keeping them whole (this allows the sauce to soak through the eggs while they are braising).
  3. Finely chop the garlic and set it aside.
  4. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over a high heat. Add the garlic to the pot and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds until lightly browned. Add the sauce and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  5. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the pork belly piece to the pan and sear on all sides, ensuring the skin is well-sealed and golden brown.
  6. Once seared, add the pork to the saucepan skin-side down and baste well with the sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook, continuing to baste as you do so, for 5–6 minutes.The sauce should caramelise, reduce and cling to the pork during this process.
  7. Once the sauce is thick and coating the meat well, turn the pork skin-side up and pour over enough hot water to cover it completely. Stir everything together well, cover with a lid and leave to simmer over a low heat for 1½ hours, turning the pork ocassionally, until it is soft, succulent and full of colour.
  8. Remove the lid, add the eggs to the braising liquid and continue simmering for a further 30 minutes, turning the eggs every 10 minutes to ensure they absorb the sauce evenly. Arrange on a large platter and serve.

Swapsies:

  • If you cannot find fermented tofu, make a paste out of one of the hard-boiled egg yolks instead. The texture will thicken the sauce, much like the tofu does, giving the dish its silky finish.
Tags:
Chinese
School of Wok
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