Recipe : Hong Shao Rou

Sichuan food is my fave. My love of Chinese inspired cooking stems from many moons ago when I was a young girl – my parents, sister and I, every Saturday night, would set up camp on a towel on the living room floor in our Yorkshire home, in front of the fire, watching Blind Date, with a Chinese takeaway. I’ve loved it ever since, but only got acquainted with authentic Chinese food in my adult life.

In London, some of my favourite spots are Silk Road in Camberwell and Chilli Cool near Euston and I’ve yet to try Barshu in Soho. Any other recommendations would be extremely well received!

I recently moved to a new flat in Streatham Hill and as soon as I got my new kitchen up and running, the first thing I wanted to make was Sichuan. Anything Sichuan. I popped to Dove & Sons at Clapham Junction and picked up a kilo of pork belly (yes, for two!) and dashed home to get going. Since I’ve moved I can’t find all my herbs and spices so I knew I needed something simple and so I decided to go for a hong-shao or red-brasing method, and cook my pork belly in a simple blend of soy sauce, sugar and spice.

Hong Shao Rou

(Recipe adapted from one of my favourite sites – China Sichuan Food)


  • 500g pork belly cut into cubes around 2 inches
  • 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 inches ginger (I always do mine in batons)
  • 4 chopped spring onions
  • 1 cup hot water
  • Oil for brushing


  1. Boil a large pot of water, add a couple of batons of ginger and half the spring onions. Cook the pork belly for around four minutes and set aside and drain.
  2. Heat up a wok on medium heat and brush the bottom with oil. Sautee the pork belly until it’s slightly brown. Transfer the pork cubes out to a warmed pot.
  3. Put the brown sugar in the wok and stir fry until all the sugar melts and it bubbles. Keep stirring! Pour in around a cup of hot water and mix well.
  4. Return the pork belly into your wok and add the light soy sauce.
  5. Bring all the contents to the boil and lower to a simmer for 45 minutes with a lid on.
  6. Take off the lid and turn up the heat to thicken the sauce for around 15 minutes. Stop when you see large bubbles and the sauce has thickened.
  7. Garnish with some chopped green onions and serve with Chinese-style cabbage (recipe coming soon).

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