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John Torode’s Chinese red-cooked pork

  • serves 4
  • Easy

This Chinese recipe from John Torode takes time but the result you get will be well worth it – sweet, juicy, delicious pork that will be so addictive you'll want some in the fridge at all times.

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Ingredients

  • boned pork shoulder 1.5kg, skin on
  • palm sugar or unrefined soft brown sugar 150g
  • light soy sauce 150ml
  • dark soy sauce 100ml
  • Shaoxing or rice wine 150ml (available in Asian shops and major supermarkets)
  • fish sauce 50ml
  • Chinese red vinegar or cider vinegar 100ml (optional, available in Asian shops)
  • coriander stalks and roots from a large bunch
  • root ginger a 5cm-chunk, sliced and pounded with a pestle and mortar
  • star anise 4
  • bay leaves 2
  • cinnamon stick 1

Method

  • Step 1

    Trim the pork of any fat then lay skin-side up on a work surface and stab the skin about 50 times. This allows the excess fat to escape so the skin has a chance to crisp up when roasting. In china they use a wooden utensil with about 20 little sharp spikes, but a small sharp knife will do just as well. Cut the meat into strips that are as wide as they are deep.

  • Step 2

    Put all the other ingredients in a large pan with 250ml water and bring to the boil slowly so that the spices infuse and the sugar melts. reduce the heat and lower in the pork. Bring back to a simmer and cook gently for 30 mins. Take the pot off the heat and leave the meat in the liquid to cool. Cover and leave overnight in the bottom of the fridge.

  • Step 3

    The next day, heat the oven to 180c/fan 160c/gas 4 and space the shelves out in the oven so there is a good distance from the top of the oven to the first rack. Put a roasting tin on the lower level with 500ml water in it and put the meat directly on the oven shelf above so the meat cooks and the excess fat will drip to the lower tray. The steam from the tray will keep the meat moist and the fat will be taken up in the water and not smoke out the kitchen.

  • Step 4

    Roast for 40 minutes to an hour, until the pork is looking caramelised and the skin is starting to crisp at the edges. Rest for 15 minutes then slice and either serve with noodle soup and pak choy, or steamed rice.

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 692
  • Carbs 2.5g
  • Protein 74.6g
  • Fat 42.5g
  • Salt 1.07g
  • Saturates 16.4g
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