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Chinese Ginger-Soy Braised Pork
FAST: 1½ hours
Slow: 5½ to 6½ hours
Recipes for Chinese red-cooked pork vary by region and often are passed down within generations, so there are as many versions of this dish as there are families. The through-line, though, is succulent pork belly coated in savory spiced caramel. Dark soy sauce develops a crimson tint with long-cooking, lending hong shao rou its characteristic hue. Our Instant Pot iteration omits the condiment, which can be tricky to source, resulting in a dish that’s less red but no less delicious. We braise pork shoulder—a cut more widely available in U.S. markets than belly—with ginger, garlic and warm spices, rounded out by sugar, soy sauce and dry sherry, an easier-to-find alternative to Shaoxing, the rice wine traditionally used in the dish. Whether pressure- or slow-cooked until fork-tender, the meat is reserved and its aromatic braising liquid is reduced into a sticky-sweet sauce. Assertive and robust in flavor, hong shao rou is best served with plain rice and simple steamed or stir-fried vegetables.
cup white sugar
pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch chunks