Just a couple weeks ago, I had a slight snafu at Whole Foods with a purchase of some pork belly. When I went back for more, they had none, which was frustrating. I finally made it back in to pick up some more, though after having it a lot recently, I’m going to take a break and go back to chicken which I have been neglecting.
Anyway, I decided to try braising it again, this time using primarily Chinese 5 Spice, which I highly recommend for anyone who enjoys cooking Asian foods. I found a nice recipe on Chez Pim for 5 spice braised pork belly. Sounded and looked delicious. My one mistake was using a pot that was too large, which had too much liquid. Just use a smaller, 3-4 quart, rather than the 7 quart pot.
I feel that I have been neglecting the Vegetarian side of things, not posting many of those recipes. So, I wanted to do a braised tofu with similar spices. With both of those, I made a quick coconut rice and roasted Brussels sprouts. It did work together, especially the rice cutting a but of of the fattiness of the pork.
Chinese 5 Spice Braised Tofu
1 package extra firm tofu
1 tablespoon oyster sauce (not vegetarian)
3 tablespoons water
1/2 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce (or use light and add a pinch of brown sugar)
1 tablespoon sesame oil, or comparable
Before cooking, you want to marinate the tofu. Press as much water out of the tofu brick as possible. Cut into medium size cubes and place in a ziplock bag or small container. Add soy sauce, garlic and ginger. Mix to coat and marinate at least 1 hour.
When ready to cook, heat oil in medium pan (with a lid) over medium heat. Add tofu when oil is hot and cook until tofu begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir tofu around to brown on both sides. After about 10 minutes, mix oyster sauce and water in a small bowl to combine. Add to pan and cover. Cook an additional 5-7 minutes, or until liquid has been absorbed. Serve with coconut rice and veggies of your choice. You can also include vegetables in the pan when braising, just use a bit more liquid.
Chinese Five Spice Braised Pork
Recipe courtesy of Chez Pim
2-4 pounds pork belly, skin on (you can adjust size based on number of people)
1 medium onion, diced
2 inch knob of ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips (half of the ginger minced)
2 tablespoons 5 spice powder
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce (or use regular soy and add 1 teaspoon brown sugar)
3 tablespoons fish sauce
In a 3-4 quart dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. When hot, add onion and cook until translucent, about 6-7 minutes. Add minced ginger and five spice and stir until all are fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Place the pork belly into the pot, skin side down. Add enough water to cover the pork by about 1-2 inches. Add the soy sauce, fish sauce and garlic cloves (crushed).
Cover pot and turn to high to bring to a boil. Skim and foam or scum that rises. Cook nearly covered on low for about 3 hours or until pork is tender.
When cooked through, remove pork and place in a medium size sauce pan and cover. Increase the heat of the braising liquid to boil. Add remaining ginger and cook sauce down until you have about 1-2 cups thick sauce. When cooked down, you can use a imersion blender to make sauce smooth, and then strain over pot with pork belly. Heat pork and reduced sauce until pork is heated through.
Serve with rice, noodles, vegetables etc. Spoon sauce over pork. Enjoy!!