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This week, I’m making lunch for my co-workers… You know, dazzle them with my cooking so that I may get a raise or a couple of days off soon (insert ass-kissing here). They are such lovely people to work with… well to work for; some think they are the boss of me! ha! So for that reason I will be referring to them as my “bosses”…

Last night, I made red cooked pork or Hong Shao Rou as it is traditionally known. Took me hours to cook it! This recipe is a classic Chinese recipe, most famous for being Chairman Mao’s favourite dish. It is made with pork belly, but you know me, didn’t get to the shops till late; my Sunday was filled with a little friend called a hangover, so I got pork spare ribs and got the butcher to cut them up in to small chunks.

Red cooking is a technique of slow cooking the meat which leaves a red colour on the cooked meat. I discovered this a while ago, but it’s one of those recipes that I throw in to my recipe book and forget about! Trust me, I have a million recipes yet to try…

For this recipe, I used a whole lot of pork. Cut the quantities in half to serve about 4.

The recipe:

2.5kg pork ribs (preferably use pork belly, cut in to small 1/2 inch chunks)

3 tbsp peanut oil

3 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp shaoxing rice wine (you can find this in all supermarkets now)

water, enough to cover the pork

3/4 inch piece of ginger, unpeeled and sliced

2 star anise (difficult to find, but check Healthy U or Asian supermarkets. If you can’t find that, they do sell star anise powder in Nakumatt, use about 1/2 tbsp)

3 dried chillies

2-3 cinnamon sticks

soy sauce


Par boil the pork for 5minutes in a saucepan with water. Discard the cooking water and set aside.

Put the oil and sugar in the saucepan over a medium heat. When the sugar starts to melt, increase the heat and stir until sugar caramelises. It should be a deep brown colour.

Lower the heat slightly, add the pork and the shaoxing rice wine. Add water to cover the pork. Throw in the ginger, star anise, and dried chillies.

Bring this to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 1hour. This would obviously be less for pork belly. My pork took a lot longer to cook, about 2 1/2 hours. I wanted the meat very tender, falling off the bone.

Uncover the meat, and increase the heat slightly to reduce the sauce slightly. Season with soy sauce, and salt.

** At this point, if you so wish (bachelors are you listening???) the pork can be cooled and frozen. To serve, reheat in a sauce pan, or microwave, transfer to a bowl, check the seasoning and eat!!

Serve with steamed rice and vegetables.

Pork in the office

The “bosses” enjoyed the pork… Looking forward to cooking for them the rest of the week. Of course there will be some healthy meals in there!

I have a great plan with my “bosses” … get them hooked on my food… and then…. *evil laugh* world domination… one swine at a time!!