Daikon and Braised Pork Belly (白萝卜炖五花肉 Bai Luo Bo Dun Wu Hua Rou)
December 18, 2021  Print
I’ve been cooking daikon radishes (also known as mooli, or bai luo bo) quite often lately. It’s definitely the time to enjoy this root vegetable. The days are getting colder and drier. Even in Texas, people bundle up in the early morning and at night. Daikon radishes are said to boost the immune system, control blood pressure, and increase metabolism.
I previously talked about my efforts to turn my husband and my sons into daikon eaters. My sons were much easier to persuade than my husband when it came to daikon. But today’s recipe is an exception. My husband loves this Daikon and Braised Pork Belly dish so much that he thinks the daikon is the MVP of this dish. The daikon complements pork belly extremely well, neutralizing the fat, and adding refreshment to the aromatic pork belly. Don’t be scared by the red oil floating on top. The red oil is from the Pixian Douban (郫县豆瓣酱),1 which is a type of spicy bean sauce. But the sauce is not that hot at all. It gives out a combination of savory, subtlety sweet, and mild spicy flavor. Both my 2-year-old and 5-year-old sons can tolerate it with no problem.
If you can’t find Pixian Douban (郫县豆瓣酱), for this dish you can use other types of douban jiang or even Soy Bean Sauce (黄豆酱). No salt is needed since the combination of Pixian Douban and soy sauce is salty enough.
Don’t throw away the liquid sauce after consuming the solids from the dish. I often use the leftover sauce to braise more daikon (by itself) the next day and the result is equally fantastic.
If you like braised pork belly, try my other braised pork belly recipe: Red Braised Pork Belly. They are quite different in terms of taste. If you like daikon, you can try my Daikon Pork Bone Soup and Daikon Beef Meat Pies.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 90 minutes
Servings: 2-4 people
- 1 lb (~450 g) pork belly
- 1 medium daikon radish
- 1 1-inch long piece of ginger
- 3-5 garlic cloves
- 2 green onions (green parts only)
- 2 star anise
- 2 teaspoons Pixian Douban (郫县豆瓣)
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- ~1 cup of hot water
- Cut the pork belly into 1 to 1.5-inch cubes. Peel the daikon radish and cut the daikon into similar sized cubes.
- Peel and cut the ginger and garlic into small pieces. Cut the green parts of the green onions into small pieces. Set aside.
- Heat a wok under medium heat. When the wok is getting warm, add the 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil. Then add the pork belly cubes. Lightly fry the pork belly on all sides until golden brown and oil seeps out. Transfer the pork belly cubes out. Leave the oil in the wok.
- Lower the heat to medium-low. Add the ginger, garlic, and star anise. Stir once or twice until the fragrance comes out. Add the 2 teaspoons of Pixian Douban, stirring for a few seconds until well mixed. Add the pork belly cubes back. Also add the 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of dark soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of rice wine, and 1 teaspoon of sugar, stirring to combine.
- Pour in the ~1 cup of hot water. The water should cover most of the pork belly cubes. Raise the heat to medium-high until liquid boils. Then lower the heat back to medium-low or low. Cover the lid and let the pork belly simmer in liquid for 40 minutes.
- When the 40 minutes are up, add the daikon cubes, gently mixing and turning the daikon cubes (don’t worry if there is not enough liquid to fully cover all the daikon cubes. There will be more liquid after the daikon cooks and releases liquid. Simmer everything for another 20 to 30 minutes. Turn the daikon pieces over once in between.
- Turn off the heat and sprinkle the sliced green onions on top. Enjoy with rice!
- Pixian Douban (郫县豆瓣) is a geographically protected indication of origin, similar to how certain cheeses and wines are protected by their designation of origin in Europe. It’s made only in Pixian, Sichuan using specific methods. For this dish, if you can’t find Pixian Douban, you can use other types of douban jiang, or even Soy Bean Sauce (黄豆酱).
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