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Red Cooked Pork Belly with Lotus Root

Red-cooked pork belly, or as some people called it Chinese braised pork, is one of the most popular dishes in many Chinese and Taiwanese households.

There are many different ways to prepare this dish. You can add vegetables to accompany this dish, including carrots, taro and potatoes, but for this recipe I used something a bit more unique; lotus root.

People often ask me how to cook different Chinese vegetables and one of the Chinese vegetables I can asked more often about is lotus root. It seems like a lot of people have no idea what kind of Chinese vegetables this and even less of an idea what to do with it.

So for this reason, I have tried to include different ways of preparing lotus root in both my blog and also in my cookbooks.

Lotus root is a super food in both Chinese medicine and cuisine. Chinese people believe lotus root can improve your digestive system, help blood circulation, improve energy and help with anti-aging. It’s also high in fiber. Some Chinese people also believe lotus root juice is very good for getting rid of hangovers.

I simply like lotus root because of both the taste and texture of it. Nowadays, it’s much easier to get hold of lotus root outside of the East. You can usually find lotus root in Chinese/Asian supermarkets in their fresh produce fridge section.

You can serve this delicious dish with some hot rice and different kinds of green vegetables. I didn’t use a lot of water to cook this dish with, but if you think it’s a little bit dry while cooking, you can add more water.

You can also use a slow cooker to finish cooking this dish but it naturally takes a longer time to cook. Typically with a slow cooker, if you cook at a high heat it will take roughly 6 hours to cook. This can vary depending on the brand of your slow cooker but please check with your slow cooker provider or the cooking instructions provided with it for advice.

red cooked pork belly with lotus root ingredients

 

 

Red Cooked Pork Belly with Lotus Root

Ingredients

  • 1 kg pork belly (slice into 1.5cm thick slices)
  • 700 g lotus root
  • 2 Spring Onions (slice)
  • 2 slices ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 slices licorice root
  • 1 chenpi
  • 500 ml water
  • 6 Sugar snap peas (just a handful and not an exact amount)

Marinade for pork belly

  • 3 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce

Seasonings

  • 2.5 tbsp demerara sugar (or rock sugar)
  • 3 tbsp Rice Wine (or shaoxing rice wine)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • Salt (to taste)
  1. Slice the pork belly into 1.5 cm thick slices and marinade with light soy sauce and dark soy sauce for at least 30 minutes. Don’t discard the soy sauce left over from marinating the pork.
  2. Wash and peel the lotus root and slice it into 2 cm thick slice and cut each slice it into quarters.
  3. Peel garlic and leave aside.
  4. Heat up 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan or skillet. Pan fry the pork belly until both sides of the pork belly are golden brown. Leave aside.
  5. Heat up 1 tablespoon of oil in the wok and stir-fry spring onion, ginger, garlic and all the spices until it’s aroma.
  6. Add the sugar into step 5 and turn down the fire to medium-low heat and gently stir until the sugar starts melting.
  7. Once the sugar has melted add the pork belly back in and mix evenly. This allows the sugar to coat the pork all over.
  8. Add all the seasonings and the left over soy sauce into step 7. Gently stir and mix evenly.
  9. Transfer everything from step 8 (pork belly, sauce and spice) to a stock pot and add lotus root and water. Bring it to a boil first and let it boil for a couple minutes then simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours. Add more water if it’s too dry and check it a couple times while simmering, just in case the sauce dies out. If you decide to cut the pork into different shapes, for example big cubes, the simmer time might increase. So please be aware of this.
  10. You can garnish with some blanched sugar snap peas or snow peas. Serve with some cooked rice.

Stuffed Lotus Root with Sweet Sticky Rice

Stuffed Lotus Root with Sweet Sticky Rice

Recently I’ve been going through a really busy period. I just had my final year exhibition and graded unit which along with looking after Amelia really has taken up all of my time. Chris has also had a lot of photography work to complete so I’ve been doing the extra rounds with childcare while he got his work done.

But finally, I now have some free time for myself. I’ve been thinking about posting a recipe for this Chinese dessert called “stuffed lotus root with sweet sticky rice” for a long time but because of my college course and works I’ve decided I want to try to illustrator the procedures for most recipes from now on. Of course if the dish is really simple I probably won’t illustrate it but this dish does need some guidance.

It’s really good fun but also a pain doing these illustrated procedures. It requires a lot of time to finish one recipe but it’s really good practice, really therapeutic and I hope I can eventually produce an illustrated cook book. If you remember I started designing a cook book a couple years ago and while it looks really professional, I want something a lot more fun so over a period of time I’ll re-illustrate a number of recipes while adding new recipes.

When I worked as a chef, drawing was always really important for remembering recipes. Every restaurant has completely different recipes and some recipes can be quite complicated, so I use a small notebook to illustrate the final dish and I would write the ingredients and procedure in the book. Sometimes I would have to remember 20 or more dishes in one day so the quicker you learn then better. So that’s how and I why I started drawing these recipes. I think this is also one of the reasons I got a place on my college course as the teacher seemed to be really impressed about my recipe book.

So here is my another illustrated recipe for this Chinese dessert “Stuffed lotus root with sweet sticky rice”. I hope you will enjoy it.

Also a few weeks ago, Chris, Amelia and I discovered a very cool castle in West Scotland called “Kelburn Castle”. It was built in the late 16th century but what makes this castle so special? What makes it different to all of the other castles in Scotland? Well, the castle walls needed some repairs back in 2007 and rather than just re-plaster the walls and apply a plain paint, the owner of the castle hired a group of Brazilian graffiti artists to paint the West wall of the Castle.

If you come to Scotland and have a fascination with castles, you should definitely check Kelburn Castle out. The painting on the castle looks amazing but just as importantly the grounds of the castle are fantastic for both adults and children. There’s a secret forest and many playgrounds for children, there are cafe’s and shops for adults, you can go horse riding but also the staff are extremely friendly.

I’ve put some photos of Kelburn Castle on this post, hope you like them.

stuffed lotus root with sweet sticky rice

 

Stuffed Lotus Root with Sweet Sticky Rice

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sticky rice
  • 2 lotus roots they should be 12-15cm long ideally
  • 5 dried jujubes
  • 50 g rock sugar
  • 50 g brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey

Instructions

  1. Soak the sticky rice in a bowl of water for 2 hours.
  2. Cut the lotus root as per the steps in this procedure picture. Make sure you keep the top of the lotus root as you will use this as a lid.
  3. Stuff the sticky rice from step 1 into the lotus root and use chopsticks to push the rice into the lotus root, effectively stuffing it.
  4. After you have stuffed the lotus root use 2 or 3 toothpicks to fasten the lid to the lotus root.
  5. Boil a pot of water and add 4-5 dried jujubes and 50 grammes of rock sugar. Stir until the rock sugar has dissolved. Add step 4 into the pot and cook for 1.5 hour. Make sure you have enough water to cover the lotus root.
  6. Use 200ml of the liquid from step 5 and add brown sugar and honey. Boil this mixture and simmer until the sauce has reduced by 50%. Use this as a sauce for the lotus root.
  7. Leave the lotus root to cool down. Once it has cooled down, slice it to serve with the sauce from step 6.

 

stuffed lotus root with sweet sticky rice
kelburn castle
kelburn castle
kelburn castle
kelburn castle
kelburn castle
kelburn castle