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Dongpo Pork as a famous dish in Chinese cuisine culture was named after Su Dongpo who was one of Chinese most famous and influential scholars, poets, calligraphers, painters, officials and philosophers in North Song Dynasty. It was said that Su Dongpo was also specialized in cooking. He could invent the new dish and especially cooking meat, and in his many poems, many contents connected with cuisine can be available.
Initially, Dongpo Pork was made in Huangzhou when Su Dongpo served as a remote official in Huangzhou. But the formal name of Dongpo Pork was finalized in Hangzhou when he was moved to Hangzhou. At the time, West Lake had been covered more than half by the wild grass, and he organized the local residents to root out the wild grass, dredge the lake and build causeway and bridges. It resurfaced West Lake and also added more scenic spots. Local citizens of Hangzhou appreciated him very much and presented a lot of pork when heard he liked eating pork. He let his followers cut the pork into pieces mixed with sauce and wine and cooked them in accordance with the method he braised pork, and then he sent them to the workers. All people thought it was quite delicious and named it Dongpo Pork to show their respect to this official. At the time, there was a big restaurant in Hangzhou. The boss heard the Dongpo Pork was delicious and discussed with its chefs to learn how to cook Dongpo Pork. This restaurant became quite welcome since its first day to sell Dongpo Pork. Roughly, since then, Dongpo Pork gradually was nationwide famous.
1 kg (2.2 lb) piece pork belly
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon tea leaves
4 stalks spring onion 7 cm (3") length fresh, young ginger, sliced lengthways into matchstick widths
Optional: 300 g (11 oz) broccoli, cut into small florets
1 cup water
8 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
5 slices old ginger (or 7 slices young ginger)
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons yellow wine (e.g. Shaoxing wine)
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons sugar
Thickening: 1 teaspoon corn flour, 1 tablespoon water, stirred well before use
Blanch the pork in a pot of boiling water. Throw out the water.
Put the pork back in the pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Heat a wok and add the sauce ingredients. Mix well and bring to a boil. Add the pork and cook each surface for a few minutes over a medium heat. Remove pork and drain well. Pour the remaining sauce into a small saucepan and set aside.
Clean and drain the wok. Heat the vegetable oil to a medium heat. Fry the pork on all sides until it is well browned, making sure the skin side is a little crispy.
Steep the tea leaves in hot water for a couple of minutes, remove and set aside. Place the pork in the pot of water again–topping up the water if necessary. Add the tea leaves and simmer for 30 minutes.
Place the spring onion stalks on the bottom of a steamer. Transfer pork to the steamer. Steam for 2 hours, turning the pork after 1 hour (because of the long steaming time, you may need to replenish the steamer water).
Add the broccoli to the steamer for the final 5 minutes of cooking time (boil it separately for 3 minutes if there is no room in the steamer.
Remove the pork to a serving dish and arrange the broccoli around it. Reheat sauce in the saucepan, adding and stirring in the thickening. Pour over pork and serve.
Garnish with the young ginger slivers, which are meant to be eaten.