How to Make Mei Cai Kou Rou at Home
Mei Cai Kou Rou: Chinese comfort food with steamed pork belly and preserved mustard greens, served over rice
6 ounces of dried preserved mustard greens
(approximately 3 cups after rehydration)
1 ½ pounds of boneless pork belly with the skin on
2 slices of ginger, about 1/8-inch thick and 2 inches long (0.3 cm thick/5 cm long)
2 star anise
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
4 teaspoons of dark soy sauce (divided)
1 1/2 tablespoons of granulated sugar (or preferably rock sugar)
1 teaspoon of minced ginger
2 tablespoons of light soy sauce remains the same in English.
2 tablespoons of Shaoxing wine
1 cup of chicken stock
1 teaspoon of cornstarch (mixed into a slurry with 1 tablespoon of water)
- Begin by preparing the preserved greens. Soak them for 5-6 hours, then thoroughly wash them in a large basin of water, repeating this process 6-7 times to remove any sand and dirt. Drain the preserved greens and place them to the side.
- Place the pork belly in a pot, cover it with cold water, and add the ginger slices and star anise. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 35 minutes. Take out the pork and place it aside.
- Warm a tablespoon of oil in a wok over medium heat. Start by browning the pork, beginning with the skin side and then the other sides. Once browned, add 1 teaspoon of dark soy sauce and a tablespoon of water. Carefully coat the pork in this liquid, then turn off the heat and let the pork cool in the wok.
- In the same wok, add another tablespoon of oil and the sugar. Cook the sugar until it melts and turns into caramel. Incorporate the minced ginger and cook for 30 seconds. Next, introduce the preserved vegetables and stir for a couple of minutes. Incorporate the remaining dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, and afterward, turn off the heat.
- Spoon the preserved vegetable mixture evenly over the pork belly in the bowl, ensuring it covers all the pork. Place the bowl in a steamer and steam for 75 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the steamer and carefully pour off any excess liquid into your wok (you’ll use this liquid to make the sauce). Bring the liquid to a gentle simmer, and add the cornstarch slurry to thicken it. Cover the bowl of pork with your serving plate, flip it over onto the plate, and pour the sauce over the dish. This dish pairs wonderfully with a bowl of white rice!
Mei Cai Kou Rou, a dish of braised and steamed pork belly, holds a prominent place on the list of Chinese comfort foods. It’s also a celebratory dish suitable for Chinese New Year dinners and other special occasions.
This dish evokes a sense of nostalgia for those who are Chinese, a longing for childhood memories for others, and a craving for Yong He Da Wang (a Chinese fast food chain known for its delicious steamed pork belly dish) for Kaitlin.
Mei Cai Kou Rou may appear labor-intensive, and you can tell your guests that you spent the entire day slaving over the stove. However, in reality, the most challenging part is washing the preserved vegetables, which is crucial for the dish’s success.
If you prefer an even simpler version of this dish, you can try our braised pork belly with meigan cai, where the pork belly is cooked in smaller pieces.
Ultimately, this Chinese pork belly recipe is very special. The preserved mustard greens impart a unique and addictive flavor to the dish.