Red Braised Pork

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This is a classic dish from Hunan Province, sometimes called "Chairman Mao's Red Braised Pork" for supposedly being his favorite dish. My mom used to make this with short ribs, though classically it is made with belly, I believe. This is a recipe based on one in Fuschia Dunlop's Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook, I don't think hers is spicy enough, so I add more chilies, also I like the taste of a bit of dark soy added during my braise.



  • 1 lb pork belly, you can also use spareribs or shoulder
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tbsp dark soy
  • 1" piece fresh ginger, rough sliced
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 dried thai bird chilies (or more to taste, I use 4-5)
  • 1.5" piece of cinnamon stick
  • light soy sauce, salt, and sugar
  • 1 scallion, minced


Blanch pork in rapidly boiling water for about 5 min, remove and cool. Cut into bite size pieces. Heat oil in wok, add sugar, stir and caramelize until brown. Add pork, wine, soy, ginger, star anise, red chilies, cinnamon, and enough water to barely cover pork. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, cover wok/pot and braise on low until tender (about 1.5-2 hrs). When tender, remove cover, turn heat up, and reduce liquid to a slightly viscous sauce. Should be able to slightly glaze the pork. Taste for salt and sugar. Top with minced scallions and serve.

Variations: You can add fried water chestnuts, whole roasted garlic (the picture has this), fried tofu, or bean curd skin to the last segment of cooking.