Braised pork belly with red fermented bean curd is one of the most popular Chinese dishes that uses red fermented tofu as a key seasoning. Red bean curd, also known as red fermented bean curd (Chinese: 紅腐乳, 南乳, 玫瑰腐乳), has been part of Chinese culture for more than a thousand years. There are different kinds of fermented bean curd and they can all be used in different ways. Red bean curd is a type of preserved bean curd that consists of cubes that have been preserved in rice wine, fermented red rice/red yeast rice, and other seasonings, sometimes including chili pepper.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
1 1/2 pounds/700 grams pork belly
5 to 7 small size bok choy (for garnish)
1 tablespoon neutral cooking oil (such as vegetable or canola)
3 thin slices ginger
1 spring onion (cut in half)
2 cloves garlic (sliced)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
4 cubes red fermented tofu
1/4 cup Shaoxing rice wine or rice wine
1/4 cup/60 milliliters light soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
3 cups/750 milliliters water
Optional: 1 teaspoon cornflour or potato starch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
- Boil a large pot of water. Slice the pork belly 1 to 1 1/2 inches (3 to 4 centimeters) thick.
- Place pork in the boiling water and blanch for 10 minutes. Rinse in cold water and drain. Discard the water.
- Cut the pork belly into cubes and set aside.
- Blanch the bok choy in boiling water and set aside.
- Heat a wok with the oil and add ginger, spring onion, and garlic and stir-fry until it’s aromatic. Add sugar into the wok and wait for it to melt.
- Add pork belly and turn down the heat to medium-low. Stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Transfer everything into a stockpot.
- Combine seasonings in a bowl: Add red fermented tofu, Shaoxing rice wine, light soy sauce, and dark soy sauce and mix evenly. Add mixture to the stockpot.
- Add water and bring it to a boil; then simmer for 1 1/2 hours, adding more water if it looks like it is a little bit dry.
- If the sauce needs thickening, add the cornflour/water mixture to the pot and stir. Garnish with bok choy and serve.
About Red Bean Curd
Red bean curd usually has a strong taste and smells of alcohol. It is often used as a marinade for meat or poultry which is then deep-fried or slow-cooked. The alcohol in the red bean curd lends a special aroma and helps to tenderize the meat, making the final dish very tender and soft.
Red fermented bean curd’s flavor is mellow and sweet but has a stronger alcohol taste compared to white fermented bean curd. White bean curd, however, tastes sharper, saltier, and stronger than red.
Fermented bean curd is sold in jars in Chinese markets. There are many different brands, but Fu-Chung is the most popular in North America, which contains quite a bit of sauce in the jar along with the cubes. In Chinese cooking, a small amount of fermented bean curd is used to add flavor to everything from rice and congee to vegetable stir-fries and braised dishes.