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dong po rou

Fuscia Dunlop is a true master when it comes to cooking authentic Chinese dishes. This is the first recipe we’ve tried from her gorgeous book, Land of Fish & Rice. The dish is simple to cook and you don’t need too many ingredients. Do buy a decent bottle of Shaoxing Wine, rather than the widely available stuff to cook with. You need a wine of drinking quality for this – we found one very easily in our local Asia market. We served with steamed rice and stir-fried broad beans with spring onion. The pork is very rich so only a small amount per person is needed. Start the dish the day before and you will be able to remove the layer of fat that forms on the top when chilled.

Wine Suggestion: Excellent with grenache. Tonight it was grenache dominant blends from Chateau Pesquié, in the coolest part of the Ventoux but equally as good with a Clare Valley, or similar.

Dongpo Pork – serves 4 with rice

  • 1 x 12cm wide strip of unscored, skin-on, boneless belly pork (about 1kg or 1.3kg with the bone-in)
  • 2 scallions
  • 30g ginger, skin on
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • 5½ tbsp light soy sauce
  • ½ tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 250ml good Shaoxing wine (aged for 5-10 years)

Preheat the oven to 110°C/Fan 90ºC/Gas ¼.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the pork and cook for about 5 minutes. Drain well and rinse under a cold tap, then place, skin-side up, on a chopping board and cut into 5cm squares. Keep any trimmings.

Crush the scallions and ginger with a rolling pin and put into the pan. Add the pork trimmings and arrange the pork chunks, skin-side down, on top. Add the sugar, soy sauces and Shaoxing wine, then bring to the boil. Boil rapidly for 1-2 minutes, then cover and cook gently for 2½ hours in the oven (alternatively cook on a very low hob). Check occasionally and add some hot water if it looks dry.

Remove and discard the ginger and scallions, then leave the pork to cool in the pan and chill overnight. The next day, scrape off the fat form the surface, then reheat, turning the pork skin-side up as soon as the juices have loosened. The sauce should be dark and slightly syrupy, if necessary remove the pork form the pan and fast-boil the sauce to reduce it, then return the pork to the pan. Serve with plain rice.

(Original recipe from Land of Fish & Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop, Bloomsbury, 2016.)

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