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Pork Belly in Black Vinegar

by , featured in Simply Chinese Feasts
Published by Hardie Grant
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Introduction

This recipe is based on a very traditional pork trotter, ginger and vinegar dish, which was made for confinement mothers because it was believed to provide nourishment and replenish energy. However, it required a lot of ingredients. So, I decided to showcase this pork belly and black vinegar recipe in a nod to the confinement dish. The pork belly is boiled first, then plunged into cold water and cooked again. This gives the pork a wonderful texture, reminiscent of the pork trotter dish. The flavours of the sweet and sour are there, but an extra layer of flavour is added by the garlic.

This recipe is based on a very traditional pork trotter, ginger and vinegar dish, which was made for confinement mothers because it was believed to provide nourishment and replenish energy. However, it required a lot of ingredients. So, I decided to showcase this pork belly and black vinegar recipe in a nod to the confinement dish. The pork belly is boiled first, then plunged into cold water and cooked again. This gives the pork a wonderful texture, reminiscent of the pork trotter dish. The flavours of the sweet and sour are there, but an extra layer of flavour is added by the garlic.

Image of Suzie Lee's Pork Belly in Black Vinegar
Photo by Lizzie Mayson

Ingredients

Serves: 4

Metric Cups

PORK BELLY

  • 500 grams pork belly (chopped into large, bite-size chunks)
  • vegetable oil (for frying)

SAUCE

  • 30 grams fresh ginger root (peeled and sliced into rounds)
  • 1 large clove of garlic (finely sliced)
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons shaoxing wine
  • 4 tablespoons chinese black vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • salt and white pepper

PORK BELLY

  • 1 pound 2 ounces pork belly (chopped into large, bite-size chunks)
  • vegetable oil (for frying)

SAUCE

  • 1 ounce fresh ginger root (peeled and sliced into rounds)
  • 1 large clove of garlic (finely sliced)
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons shaoxing wine
  • 4 tablespoons chinese black vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • salt and white pepper

Method

Pork Belly in Black Vinegar is a guest recipe by Suzie Lee so we are not able to answer questions regarding this recipe

  1. Bring about 1 litre (34 fl oz/4¼ cups) of water to the boil in a cooking pot, then add the pork belly pieces and bring up to the boil again for 10 minutes. This removes any gamey taste and renders some of the pork fat. Remove the pork with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok or large frying pan over a high heat, then add the pork belly pieces and sear for about 5–8 minutes to give them some colour.
  3. Push the pork belly pieces to one side of the wok/pan. Some fat should have been released from the pork (if not, add another tablespoon of oil).
  4. To make the sauce, fry off the ginger and garlic in the wok/pan for about 1 minute.
  5. Add the sugar, Shaoxing wine, black vinegar and soy sauce and approximately 250 ml (8 fl oz/1 cup) of water (it should just cover all the pieces of meat).
  6. Pop the lid on the wok/pan and simmer for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and leave the lid slightly ajar. Allow to cook for a further 15 minutes.
  7. Taste one of the pork belly pieces at the 45-minute mark. If it is still chewy, cook for a further 10–15 minutes with the lid fully on. You want the pork to melt in your mouth and burst with flavour.
  8. Adjust the seasoning to taste by adding more vinegar or sugar, or balance with some salt and pepper — trust your tastebuds!
  1. Bring about 1 litre (34 fl oz/4¼ cups) of water to the boil in a cooking pot, then add the pork belly pieces and bring up to the boil again for 10 minutes. This removes any gamey taste and renders some of the pork fat. Remove the pork with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok or large frying pan over a high heat, then add the pork belly pieces and sear for about 5–8 minutes to give them some colour.
  3. Push the pork belly pieces to one side of the wok/pan. Some fat should have been released from the pork (if not, add another tablespoon of oil).
  4. To make the sauce, fry off the ginger and garlic in the wok/pan for about 1 minute.
  5. Add the sugar, Shaoxing wine, black vinegar and soy sauce and approximately 250 ml (8 fl oz/1 cup) of water (it should just cover all the pieces of meat).
  6. Pop the lid on the wok/pan and simmer for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and leave the lid slightly ajar. Allow to cook for a further 15 minutes.
  7. Taste one of the pork belly pieces at the 45-minute mark. If it is still chewy, cook for a further 10–15 minutes with the lid fully on. You want the pork to melt in your mouth and burst with flavour.
  8. Adjust the seasoning to taste by adding more vinegar or sugar, or balance with some salt and pepper — trust your tastebuds!

Additional Information

Top Tips:
This dish freezes well and can be kept in the freezer for a month.
If you do not have time, but love the taste of this dish, instead of boiling and browning the pork belly, finely slice some pork loin, fillet or shoulder and flash-fry for a couple of minutes. Then follow the next few steps without adding the pork, cooking the sauce for only 15 minutes and using just 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) of water. Then toss in the flash-fried pork pieces and allow to reduce for another couple of minutes, so the sticky sauce coats the pieces of pork.

Top Tips:
This dish freezes well and can be kept in the freezer for a month.
If you do not have time, but love the taste of this dish, instead of boiling and browning the pork belly, finely slice some pork loin, fillet or shoulder and flash-fry for a couple of minutes. Then follow the next few steps without adding the pork, cooking the sauce for only 15 minutes and using just 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) of water. Then toss in the flash-fried pork pieces and allow to reduce for another couple of minutes, so the sticky sauce coats the pieces of pork.

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