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Simple, One Pot Chinese Braised Pork Recipe

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Bursting with flavor, this fall-apart-tender Chinese Braised Pork Recipe is so easy to make! Made with pantry staples, this easy braised pork can be made in a pot on the stove, slow cooker, or instant pot. It’s perfect for special dinners or meal prep!

Overhead shot of braised pork in a white bowl next to a white cloth, and a small jug of gravy to the side.

Why you will love this recipe:

  • Easy: This is such an easy recipe! There isn’t much to the prep of this braised pork recipe, however, the flavor is so delicious!
  • Not much prep: All you have to do is sear the pork on all sides, add the other ingredients to a large pot, dutch oven, slow cooker or instapot along with the pork, and cook!
  • Everyone loves it! This was one of my favorite recipes growing up! It has such a rich flavor and is so unique to my Scottish palette. When I was younger, my mum would make this Chinese Braised Pork recipe along with sesame broccoli and cold, spicy noodles (she’d use egg noodles rather than zoodles). Always a treat!
  • Fall apart texture: You may be able to cut this braised pork recipe into thin slices, however, I find that it is usually fork tender and simply falls apart. I like to shred it up and cover it with gravy made from the braising liquid.
  • Meal prep: This is one of those recipes that tastes better the next day, and also freezes really well! It makes a lot so I usually get 2-3 dinners out of it (for two-three people)

Key Ingredients

  • Pork: For this pork roast recipe, choose a cut of meat with a little extra fat on it as opposed to lean meat. The fat adds so much flavor! I have used pork belly, pork leg (fresh ham), pork butt, and pork shoulder for this recipe and they all work really well. I tend to go for pork belly or a pork shoulder roast. You may need to cut the meat into large chunks to fit it into your pan and slow cooker or pot.
  • Oil: We need oil to sear the meat! I like to use sesame oil, however, olive oil is great as well and so good for you. Chi
  • Coconut Aminos or soy sauce: For this braised pork recipe I usually go for coconut aminos because I like the sweetness it adds to the recipe, however, I’ve used both gluten-free dark soy sauce and light soy sauce in this Chinese braised pork recipe before, I just add a little honey or sugar for sweetness. Any of these types of soy sauce or regular soy sauce will work just fine!
  • Ginger: I cut a 3″ piece of ginger into slices and added that to the pot as well. It brings in a little heat and an amazing ginger aroma.
  • Sherry or rice wine: I tend to use sherry instead of rice wine because I can buy it at my local grocery store, whereas rice wine vinegar requires a special trip to the Asian supermarket (which I really enjoy, but don’t always have time for!).
  • Chicken Broth: I like to use stock instead of water because it adds a little saltiness and flavor. You could also use beef broth.
  • Chinese 5 spice: Chinese 5 spice consists of star anise, fennel seeds, Szechuan peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon. It’s a warm, sweet, and spicy blend. I love to add it to stir-fries as well!
  • Bay leaf: I also add 1-2 bay leaves to this braised pork recipe. This is optional, but if you have them on hand pop them into the pot!

How to make this Chinese Braised Pork recipe

Begin by heating the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, place your cut of pork in the pan and sear it until it gets some color and browned bits. Repeat this step on all sides of the pork. I like to use a cast iron pan to perfectly sear the meat.

Pork leg searing in a large black pan.

In a large pot, large dutch oven, or in a slow cooker, add the rest of the ingredients (apart from the cornstarch, sesame seeds, and green onions) to form the braising liquid.

Pouring chicken stock over the rest of the ingredients in a slow cooker.

Add the meat to the braising liquid and then cover the pot with a lid and cook! The cooking time will depend on the appliance and cooking process you prefer.

Add the seared pork to the braising liquid.

Dutch oven or large pot: Simmer slowly on medium heat for 1.5-2 hours. Cook it at a lower heat if the liquid is boiling – you’re looking for a gentle simmer!

Crock pot: Cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4-5 hours.

Instant Pot: Cook on manual high pressure for 35 minutes. Then allow the pressure to release naturally before quick releasing the valve.

When the pork is finished cooking it should be very tender, even falling apart. Remove the meat from the braising liquid with a slotted spoon or tongs and allow it to rest while you make the gravy.

Remove the pork to rest.

To make the gravy, add 2 cups of the liquid to a pot avoiding the ginger, bay leaves, and fat on top as much as possible, and make a cornstarch slurry by adding 1 tbsp of cornstarch to a small bowl with a little of the liquid. You can use tapioca starch as well if that’s what you have on hand. Mix it well together, adding more and more liquid until it is pourable. Pour it back into the pot and mix it well over medium heat.

Thickening the gravy with a cornstarch slurry.

Slice or shred the pork and serve!

Serve this braised pork shoulder, pork leg, or Chinese braised pork belly drizzled in gravy over white rice, with sesame broccoli, peanut noodles, or a simple salad on the side. I also like to sprinkle some sliced green onion and toasted sesame seeds over the finished dish!

Storage & Reheating Instructions

  • Store the braised pork recipe in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the fridge.
  • Reheat it in a pot on the stove, in the microwave, or oven until piping hot.
  • Freeze: This is an excellent recipe to freeze for later! Allow the dish to cool entirely before adding the pork and gravy to an airtight container or a zip-top bag. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw completely before reheating as above.

How do I make this keto or paleo?

  • Keto: Use soy sauce and add brown sweetener (like brown erythritol) instead of honey. The meat is keto-friendly anyway, only the braising liquid for gravy needs to be adjusted. Go easy on the gravy when serving.
  • Paleo: Use tapioca starch instead of cornstarch. Alcohol in moderation is okay on the paleo diet, so the sherry should be fine!

What can I do with the leftover braising liquid?

If you don’t use it all up as gravy over the pork in this braised pork recipe, there are a few things you can do with the leftover braising liquid.

First of all, I like to chill the leftover liquid after it’s cooled to room temperature. The accumulated juices tend to contain a lot of fat which can be delicious but also can leave a greasy taste in your mouth. So after the liquid has chilled overnight, I scrape off the fat which will harden in the fridge, and discard it.

With the rest of the liquid, I like to make egg drop soup, or adding it to the broth for ramen is a great way to use it up. Sometimes I throw in some more coconut aminos and make marinated ramen eggs with it as well! They’re delicious as a snack or in homemade ramen.

What is braising?

Braising is where you cook a tougher cut of meat over both dry heat and wet heat. To do this, begin by searing the meat in a large pan, and then transfer it to a large pot, dutch oven, slow cooker, or instant pot, and cook it slowly, partially submerged in liquid (known as braising liquid).

Why is my braised pork tough?

If your pork is tough, it’s possibly the wrong cut of meat. You want to use tougher, fatty meat which needs to be cooked over a longer period to become tender, as opposed to a lean cut of meat that will dry out if cooked for a long time.

Can you over braise pork shoulder?

That would be very difficult to do! Pork shoulder takes a long time to cook properly, and can even be left overnight in a slow cooker which is what I prefer to do for this braised pork recipe.

How much liquid do you use when braising?

You want the meat to be partially submerged under the liquid, but not completely. About 1/2-1/3 of the meat should be covered, and the top half should be out of the liquid.

Close up shot of braised pork in a white bowl next to a white cloth and cutlery.

More pork recipes you will love

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Chinese Braised Pork Recipe

Chinese Braised Pork Recipe

Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes

Bursting with flavour, this fall-apart-tender Chinese Braised Pork Recipe is so easy & tasty! Make it in a pot on the stove, slow cooker or instant pot.

Ingredients

  • 1.5kg/3.3lbs Pork shoulder, belly, butt or leg
  • 1 tbsp sesame or olive oil
  • 475ml (2 cups) chicken stock
  • 355ml (1.5 cups) dry sherry or rice wine
  • 120ml coconut aminos or soy sauce (see note 1 for soy sauce)
  • 3-4" fresh ginger root, sliced into 4 slices (just shorter than the length of your thumb)
  • 2 tsp Chinese 5 spice (see note 2 for substitution)
  • 1-2 bay leaves (optional)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch or tapioca starch (to thicken braising liquid)
  • 2 green/spring onions, finely sliced (garnish, optional)
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (garnish, optional)

Instructions

Prep and cooking

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
  2. When the oil is hot, place your cut of pork in the pan and sear it until it gets some colour and browned bits. Repeat this step on all sides of the pork. Feel free to cut the pork if it's too big.
  3. In a large pot, large dutch oven, slow cooker, or in an instant pot add the rest of the ingredients (apart from the cornstarch, spring onions and toasted sesame seeds) to form the braising liquid.
  4. Add the meat to the braising liquid and then cover the pot with a lid and cook. You may need to cut the meat to get it to fit in the pot.
  5. The cooking time will depend on the appliance and cooking process you prefer, and are as follows:
  • Dutch oven or large pot: Simmer slowly on medium heat for 1.5-2 hours. Cook it at a lower heat if the liquid is boiling – you’re looking for a gentle simmer!
  • Slow cooker: Cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4-5 hours.
  • Instant Pot: Cook on manual high pressure for 35 minutes. Then allow the pressure to release naturally before quick releasing the valve.
  • After cooking

      1. When the pork is finished cooking, remove the meat from the braising liquid with a slotted spoon or tongs and allow it to rest while you make the gravy.
      2. To make the gravy, add 2 cups of the braising liquid to a pot, avoiding the ginger, bay leaves, and fat on top if possible, and make a cornstarch slurry by adding 1 tbsp of cornstarch to a small bowl with a little of the liquid. Mix it well together, adding more and more liquid until it is pourable. Pour it back into the pot and mix it well over medium heat.
      3. Slice or shred the pork and serve drizzled in the thickened gravy with sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds if desired!

      Notes

      1. Soy sauce: If you opt for soy sauce instead of coconut aminos, add in 3-4 tbsp of honey. Coconut aminos are naturally sweet so the extra sweetener is not needed if using coconut aminos.
      2. Chinese 5 spice: You can substitute 2-3 whole star anise if you don't have Chinese 5 spice on hand.
      3. Leftover braising liquid: If you don’t use it all up as gravy over the pork, there are a few things you can do with the leftover braising liquid. First of all, I like to chill the leftover liquid after it’s cooled to room temperature. The accumulated juices tend to contain a lot of fat which can be delicious but also can leave a greasy taste in your mouth. So after the liquid has chilled overnight, I scrape off the fat which will harden in the fridge, and discard it. With the rest of the liquid, I like to make egg drop soup, or adding it to the broth for ramen is a great way to use it up. Sometimes I throw in some more coconut aminos and make marinated ramen eggs with it as well! They’re delicious as a snack or in homemade ramen.
      Nutrition Information:
      Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
      Amount Per Serving: Calories: 428Total Fat: 43gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 169mgSodium: 577mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 45g

      Nutrition information and calculations will vary with the use of different brands or ingredients. These figures are estimates. Please get in touch if you have questions!

      Did you make this recipe?

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