Red-Cooked Pork Belly Recipe

Red-Cooked Pork Belly Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees

A good red cooked pork recipe is a family treasure and this one is no exception. Kian learned to make this dish from his Aunt Hong and her recipe is the foundation for his, which has evolved over the years after much experimentation with parboiling and caramelizing, aromatic ingredients and spices.

For photos of how to recipe comes together, check out the body of the post.
Course Entree
Cuisine Chinese
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings 4 Appetizers, or 2 main course
Calories 312kcal
Author Kian Lam Kho


  • 1 1/2 pounds pork belly
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled
  • 2 whole scallions cut into 2-inch-long pieces
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Shaoxing cooking wine
  • 1 1/2 cups liquid from the parboiling step or whatever stock you have handy, plus more as needed
  • Cooked rice for serving
  • Chopped scallions and cilantro sprigs for topping


  • Put the entire pork belly in a stockpot containing enough water to cover the meat completely. Bring the water to a boil, and then turn the heat to medium. Parboil the pork belly uncovered for 20 minutes. Continuously skim off the scum that forms on top of the water. Drain and cool the pork belly. Then cut it into pieces about 1 1/2-inches square.
  • Melt the sugar and 3 tablespoons water in a wok over medium heat. Continue heating until the sugar just begins to turn yellow. Add the cubed pork belly to the wok and brown it with the caramelized sugar. Stir the meat regularly to prevent burning. Cover the wok with a splatter guard to prevent the fat from splattering.
  • Add the garlic, scallion, star anise, dark soy sauce, wine and stock to the wok. Bring the liquid to a boil, and then transfer to a covered clay pot. Simmer over low heat, stirring the meat every 15 minutes to prevent scorching the pork at the bottom, for about 1 hour or until the meat is tender when pierced with a knife.
  • Remove the meat and put in a bowl. Reduce the sauce over medium-high heat until it reaches the desired consistency. Return the meat to the wok and reheat before serving.
  • Serve over cooked rice, topped with chopped scallions and cilantro sprigs.


* Serve with rice or in steamed buns, topped with julienned scallions and some cilantro sprigs.
* While the cooking time on this recipe says 2 hours, most of that time is hands-off cooking time and requires very little work. This is more of a weekend recipe, given the amount of time it needs to braise.
* This dish serves 4 as an appetizer, or 2 as a main course when paired with a vegetable dish.
Nutritional anaysis is based on 4 appetizer portions


Calories: 312kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 292mg | Sodium: 853mg | Potassium: 435mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 50IU | Vitamin C: 4.1mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 5.6mg