The dish is named after revered
Song Dynasty poet, artist and calligrapher Su
Dongpo, who is
supposed to have invented, or at least inspired it. The meat
should be so tender that you can quite easily pry it away in
small pieces with chopsticks. As it is made from a slab of
pork belly, there is a lot of fat, but the lengthy cooking
time (3-1/2 hours) results in fat sans much of its greasiness.
Eat as little of the fat as you choose. The accompanying ginger
and plainly cooked broccoli also help offset the fat. You will
need at least four hours to make dongpo pork during which time
it is simmered twice, braised, sautéd and steamed.
1 kg (2.2 lb) piece pork belly
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon tea leaves
4 stalks spring onions
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 pork in a pot of boiling water. Throw out water.
pork back in pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil,
and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Heat a wok and add sauce ingredients.
Mix well and bring to a boil. Add pork and cook each surface
for a few minutes over a medium heat. Remove pork and drain
well. Pour remaining sauce into a small saucepan and set
- Clean and drain wok. Heat vegetable oil to a medium
heat. Fry pork on all sides until it is well browned, making
sure skin side is a little crispy.
- Steep tea leaves
in hot water for a couple of minutes, remove and set aside.
Place pork in pot of water again–topping up water if necessary.
Add tea leaves and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Place scallion stalks
on bottom of a steamer. Transfer pork to steamer. Steam for
2 hours, turning pork after 1 hour (because of long steaming
time, you may need to replenish steamer water).
- Add broccoli
to steamer for final 5 minutes of cooking time (boil it separately
for 3 minutes if there is no room in steamer.
- Remove pork
to a serving dish and arrange broccoli around it. Reheat
sauce in saucepan, adding and stirring in thickener. Pour over
pork and serve.
- Garnish with young ginger slivers, which are
meant to be eaten.
Notes: The leftover simmer water makes a good pork stock starter.
Read more about pork: China, a Nation of Pork Eaters