If you like orange chicken, you’re gonna love this orange-spice braised pork belly! Melt-in-your-mouth tender and glazed with a sweet and savory sauce, you’ll be tempted to eat the whole batch straight out of the pot.
First, the pork belly is boiled in water to cook it through. This not only rids it of excess fat, it also removes any impurities that would otherwise cloud your glaze. Then, the pork is cut into cubes before being simmered with marmalade, shaoxing wine, cinnamon and star anise, until tender.
Using a drop lid is important because it helps keep the pork belly submerged, while preventing excess evaporation of the braising liquid (though you do want some evaporation). I like using silicone lids because they’re perfectly flat and have a bit of weight to them, but you can use any flat lid or a piece of folded aluminum foil that’s a bit smaller than the diameter of the bottom of the pot.
While the pork cooks, your house will be filled with the aromas of the sweet star anise, orange and cinnamon before being overtaken by the savory pork. After the pork is done, the sauce is reduced into a thick shiny glaze that coats each piece of pork in a sweet orange-spiced glaze that no mortal could possibly resist.
Orange-Spice Braised Pork Belly
- 23 ounces (650 grams) pork belly
- 1/2 cup shaoxing wine
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup marmalade
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- .7 ounces (20 grams) ginger, sliced into coins
- 1 star anise pods
- 1 large cinnamon stick
- Bring a heavy-bottomed pot with enough water in it to completely submerge the pork belly in to a boil. Add the pork belly after the water is boiling, and turn down the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook the pork belly through (20-30 minutes).
- When the pork is cooked, remove it from the water and rinse with cool water, brushing away any scum clinging to the surface. Discard the water, and wash out your pot.
- Add the shaoxing wine, water, marmalade, soy sauce, salt, ginger, star anise and cinnamon stick, and bring to a boil.
- Add the pork, and then cover with a drop lid. This can be either a flat lid that's small enough to drop onto the pork, or, a piece of aluminum foil folded up so it drops down onto the meat. Turn down the heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
- Cook the pork until it’s very tender when prodded with a fork (45 minutes). When the pork is tender, remove it from the pot, and then remove the spices and ginger. Try to skim off as much excess oil from the sauce as you can.
- Turn up the heat to reduce the sauce into a glaze. When the sauce is thick and shiny, return the pork to the pot to coat.
Yield: 2-3 servings
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.