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.
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 (rock sugar is better if available)
- 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 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.
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.
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. You’re drooling already, aren’t you?
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.
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.
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.
Simmer for another 20 minutes, and you get…*drumroll*…………THIS:
Give everything another stir and add your eggs back in.
Plate and serve! I’m about to pass out over how good this is.