Wu hua rou literally translates pork belly, and it is often one of the cheapest cuts of meat in your butcher’s case. If you cannot find pork belly in your butcher’s case, then you can use pork shoulder. As the mother of five, I love to make this recipe because it can feed a bunch of people for a very low cost. You can use the meat in so many different ways including pork shoulder tacos, pulled pork sandwiches or serve it with noodles, rice or vegetables.
Pressure Cooker Pork Belly
While you can make this dish in a regular pressure cooker, I love to use the pressure cooker feature on my Instant Pot.
- 4 pounds pork belly
- 2 teaspoons five-season spice
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 4 cups water
- 10 cloves garlic
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 star anise
- ⅔ cup light soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 1/3 cup Chinese rock sugar or 5 tablespoons white sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- Pat the pork belly dry with paper towels
- Rub the pork belly with the five-season spice
- Put the meat in your Instant Pot
- Choose the saute setting and let the pot get hot
- Add 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- Wait for the meat to get golden brown
- Add the remaining ingredients to the Instant Pot
- Pressure cook for 45 minutes
- Once the time is up, release the valve
- After the gauge has collapsed, remove the meat to a cutting board
- Let meat rest 10 minutes
- Slice and enjoy
Boiled Pork Belly
Another way that I love to make this dish for my family is to boil it. Here are the simple directions to make this dish that is a great choice when we are having company for dinner. We love it served with a garlic sauce.
- 1 spring onion
- 5 cups water
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1 star arise
- 1 tablespoon rice wine
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 pounds pork belly
- 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon black vinegar
- 1/16 teaspoon sesame oil
- 3 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 cucumber
- Finely chop the spring onion
- Put the spring onion in a stock pot and add five cups water
- Add the cardamom pods and the star anise to the water
- Add the rice wine vinegar and salt
- Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes
- Add the pork belly and cook for another 60 minutes until pork belly is tender
- Remove pork belly from the water. Do not discard water
- Combine remaining ingredients except for the cucumber in a small bowl
- Stir in two tablespoons of cooking water into mixture in small bowl to make a garlic sauce
- Slice cucumber
- Thinly slice pork belly using an electric knife
- Arrange pork belly on serving plate. Garnish with cucumber
- Serve pork belly with individual bowls of the garlic sauce
Caramelized Pork Belly
I love to introduce my family to recipes from around the world. These recipes, like caramelized pork belly, often become family favorites. While I made this Vietnamese recipe the first time to celebrate the Lunar New Year, we now enjoy it very often.
- 6 eggs
- 2 pounds pork belly
- 5 medium shallots
- 2 star arise
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1/16 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups coconut water
Put eggs in a large pot. Cover with one-inch water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let sit for 11 minutes. Peel eggs and save for later.
- Slice pork belly into one-inch pieces. Try to get meat, fat, and skin in each piece.
- Heat sugar in a large wok over low heat until it caramelizes. Watch it carefully so that it does not burn.
- Add pork belly to work.
- Cook meat for four minutes to render some of the fat.
- Quickly slice the shallots and add them to the meat.
- Add the star arise.
- Add the garlic powder and fish sauce.
- Add coconut water. Bring mixture to a boil.
- Add eggs.
- Reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 60 minutes until meat is tender. If sauce becomes dry, then add a little water. Alternatively, if the sauce is too thin, then stir in a little cornstarch.
- Remove wok from heat and let stand.
- Once the fat rises to the top, then skim it off.
- Remove to serving platter and enjoy.
These recipes will have you thinking that pork belly is the best cut of meat for families in your butcher’s case. Let it be our secret, however, or they will raise the price.