RED COOKED PORK (Hong Shao Rou): Grandma’s Version

hong-shao-rou-pork

Here’s the final recipe in this first “Cooking with Grandma” series. We’re going out with a bang.

Today, we come to you with Hong Shao Rou, our grandma’s version. She makes it with tofu and hard-boiled eggs, which she explains is the “real Shanghai style.” (Update 4/14/14: We just posted a revamped, rephotographed version of my MOM’s recipe for this dish. Find it here.)

Again, Hong Shao Rou is a famous dish from mainland China, consisting of braised pork belly. We’ve had it so many ways growing up. Sometimes Grandma puts bamboo shoots in there, sometimes it’s a different kind of tofu. But this one, with the tofu “puffs” is definitely one of my favorites. These pillows of golden tofu absorb all the sauce like a sponge, which makes for some serious awesomeness on a plate.

soy puffs

Here’s how you make it:

First, gather up your ingredients. You’ll need:

  • 2 slabs pork belly, cut into 1 ½ inch thick pieces (totaling about 1 ½ -2 pounds)
  • 4-5 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ cup shaoxing wine
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 cup water (plus more, if needed)
  • 1 package tofu puffs

 

Start by cutting up your pork belly.

pork belly

Then fill a pot with cold water and submerge your eggs. Put the pot on the stove and gently bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiling, boil the eggs for about 5 minutes. Then take them out and allow them to cool in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes. Peel them and set them aside.

boiled eggs

After that’s done, boil some more water in a large pot. Add the pork to the boiling water and blanch for about 3 minutes to get rid of excess fat and other impurities. Then drain and rinse the meat.

red cooked pork

Make sure your wok is clean and dry. Over medium low heat, add about 3 tablespoons of sugar to the dry wok (no oil) and toss the sugar around. You’ll see it start to turn an amber color.

red cooked pork

Let it melt until it becomes almost a syrup.

red cooked pork hong shao rou

Add the meat to the pan in 1 layer (still no oil necessary).

red-cooked pork-4

Let the meat brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. You’re drooling already, aren’t you?

red cooked pork

Then add ½ cup shaoxing wine, 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce, 2 tablespoons regular soy sauce and a cup of water. Stir.

red cooked pork

Cover the wok and simmer over medium-low heat for 1 hour. Check it periodically to make sure that it’s not too dry, adding a little water when necessary.

Take your peeled eggs and score them lengthwise to let the sauce into the crevices of each egg. Add them to the pan and gently coat them in the sauce, being careful not to break them up.

red cooked pork hongshaorou

Simmer for another 15 minutes (continue to add water in small increments if needed) and then take the eggs out of the pan (you don’t want to overcook them). Taste the sauce at this point for salt. If it needs a little more, add a dash of soy sauce 1 teaspoon at a time, until it’s right. We found that you didn’t need much more beyond the initial 2 tablespoons, but let your own taste buds be the judge.

Then add your tofu! Stir those babies in gently.

red cooked pork hongshao

Simmer for another 20 minutes, and you get…*drumroll*…………THIS:

hong shao rou

Give everything another stir and add your eggs back in.

Plate and serve! I’m about to pass out over how good this is.

hong shao rou red cooked pork

RED COOKED PORK (Hong Shao Rou): Grandma’s Version

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes

Yield: Serves 6

RED COOKED PORK (Hong Shao Rou): Grandma’s Version

Ingredients

2 slabs pork belly, cut into 1 ½ inch thick pieces (totaling about 1 ½ -2 pounds)
4-5 eggs
3 tablespoons sugar
½ cup shaoxing wine
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 cup water (plus more, if needed)
1 package tofu puffs

Start by cutting up your pork belly.

Then fill a pot with cold water and submerge your eggs. Put the pot on the stove and gently bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiling, boil the eggs for 5 minutes. Take them out and put them into a bowl of ice water to cool for 5 minutes before peeling.

After that’s done, boil some more water in a large pot. Add the pork to the boiling water and blanch for about 3 minutes to get rid of excess fat and other impurities. Drain and rinse the meat.

Make sure your wok is clean and dry. Over medium low heat, add about 3 tablespoons of sugar to the dry wok (no oil) and toss the sugar around. You’ll see it start to turn an amber color. Let it melt until it becomes almost a syrup.

Add the meat to the pan in 1 layer (still no oil necessary). Let the meat brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.

Then add ½ cup shaoxing wine, 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce, 2 tablespoons regular soy sauce and a cup of water. Stir.

Cover the wok and simmer over medium-low heat for 1 hour. Check it periodically to make sure that it’s not too dry, adding a little water when necessary.

By then, your eggs should be cooled off. Peel them and score them lengthwise to let the sauce into the crevices of each hard-boiled egg. Add them to the pan and gently coat them in the sauce, being careful not to break them up. Simmer for another 15 minutes (add water if needed) and then take the eggs out of the pan. Taste the sauce at this point for salt. If it needs a little more, add a dash of soy sauce 1 teaspoon at a time, until it’s right. We found that you didn’t need much more beyond the initial 2 tablespoons, but use your own judgment.

Then add your tofu and stir in gently. Simmer for another 20 minutes.

Give everything another stir and add your eggs back in.

http://thewoksoflife.com/2013/08/red-cooked-pork-hong-shao-rou-grandmas-version/

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Comments

  1. Jamie says

    Going to try this tonight. Loved eating this when in China and the chinese food is not the same here in England. Looks amazing! Will let you know how it goes. Thanks!

    • Sarah says

      Hey Simon. Thanks for stopping by! Yes, the “Grandma” addendum is attached to a precious few recipes, and as a long-time eater of my grandmother’s cooking, I’d say you’re right. Checked out your blog as well, it’s great!!

  2. iPadCary says

    Red pork in ANY form rules, but this recipe sounds wünderbar!
    And I absolutely swear I was drooling reading the steps when I then saw the sentence:
    You’re drooling already, aren’t you? lol

    QUESTION
    I live in NYC where we have Chinese takeout joints every 20 feet!
    And as a bachelor, I’d tend to lean towards buying this as opposed to making it myself.
    Now I know a *sitdown* Chinese restaurant would probably have this,
    but would your typical Chinese *takeout place* have
    Hong Shao Rou (Grandma’s Version) if I ordered it? Thank you!

    • says

      Hmmm, I’ve never seen Hongshao Rou in Chinese takeout restaurants. In fact, you only really find it in Shanghainese restaurants. Have you checked out Flushing? You can take the LIRR or the 7 train from times square all the way to flushing main street. Authentic Chinese food galore! But really, making it is actually so easy. And living in the city, you shouldn’t have a problem finding the ingredients!

  3. iPadCary says

    Flushing, Flushing, Flushing …. Of COURSE, why didn’t I even think of that?
    Or even Chinatown here in the city. Since there’s been extensive ongoing work to the 7’s Manhattan/Queens connection, I’d probably opt for the latter, but hey: at least you know your NYC subways well! lol And, as you say, look specifically for Shanghainese-based places, that’s a good tip. And who knows, maybe one rainy day when I’ve not a lot to do, I’ll give making it on my own a try. Been a while since I’ve used my wok ….
    Although it isn’t Chinese, could you see Hong Shao Rou being served on a bed of Udon?
    Thanks for all the info, Sarah!

    • says

      hahaha I know, having grown up in NJ, my reference to “the city” is always an implied reference to NYC. I go there relatively often when I’m back home. You can try my mom’s version of the same dish. It’s a bit simpler than my grandma’s version and requires less prep: http://thewoksoflife.com/2014/04/shanghai-style-braised-pork-belly/. I’ve never had it with udon noodles, but you could certainly try it! I mean, if you dumped some of those noods directly in the pot with the pork and the sauce and then mixed it all together, I certainly wouldn’t object.

      • Jeff says

        Question for you: What do you think of versions that use red fermented tofu? I’ve been dying to make this myself since I’ve come into quite a lot of pork belly! Very beautiful and informative website!

    • Jeff says

      There’s a place on W 23rd that used to be called Grand Sichuan International (I think it has some generic name now but is the same basic restaurant) that has it in their selection of Ch. Mao’s favorite dishes: red-cooking pork with chestnuts, served over spinach. It’s quite good, if mild. I think other branches of Grand Sichuan do too, especially Eastern (both the one on Lex and the one in Chelsea), the one on St. Marks and the one on 7th Ave South. Here’s a search of menupages that turns up 10 options: http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/food/red%20cooking%20pork/all-areas/all-neighborhoods/all-cuisines/ Best of luck!

      • says

        Hi Jeff, I have been at that Grand Sichuan! We like it. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that it’s technically a Sichuan restaurant, and this Red Cooked Pork is more of a Shanghainese dish, so it’s not quite “the” place to get it. There are lots of other great dishes there. Especially if you like spicy food. Regarding the red fermented bean curd, yes! I’ll put it in our recipe plan. In the mean time, there is already a version of fried spareribs which uses the same fermented tofu up on the site. Check that out at: http://thewoksoflife.com/2013/06/fried-chinese-spareribs/

    • says

      Definitely should consider adding a little vegetation to cut through the richness! Perhaps some scallions if you’re a veggie-lite kind of person or maybe even some baby bok choy thrown in there if you like the roughage :)

      • Jeroen says

        Yes. I do totally agree with you, Kaitlin. What would you serve as an accompiment? And would you serve an accompiment rather than a mix or, like Jeff suggested, the dish presented on spinache?

        • says

          Hey there, Jeroen

          I personally think that the best bet is just plain ol’ white rice. Noodles are feasible too though–I would definitely go with Sarah’s suggestion earlier to mix the noodles directly into the pot. If you’re making a personal batch, just set aside the majority of the pork and keep just enough in the wok for yourself. Then drop in your choice of cooked noodles. If you are looking for a veg, add a green leafy veggie of your choice before the noodles, let them cook a bit, then add the noodles until the whole thing resembles a deliciously saucy mass of awesome. Plate and serve!

          Also, I think you mean “accompaniment”. (don’t worry–Sarah could publicly ridicule me many times over regarding my past errors in word choice…)

          ;)

          • iPadCary says

            Yeah, yeah, yeah: I can absolutely see noodles not as a bed, but being thrown into the mix so a pesto-esque infusion-type thing results. Absolutely I can see that.

  4. Abe says

    Hello!

    What brand stove did you use for this recipe? How much was it, and where did you buy it? It looks very powerful! :)
    I have a wimpy gas stove, and I want a stove that can crank out a lot of heat…
    Thanks!

    • says

      Hi, Abe, we have a 48″ Viking stove, it’s a 5-burner with the center burner especially designed for a wok. It really is very powerful and great for Asian cooking. It’s been awhile since we last shopped for a stove, not clear if Viking still carries this model. Definitely shop around and see what you can find. Good luck!

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