As the weather changes and its getting colder, it’s time to bring out the slow cooker to make some comforting food. This Slow Cooker Braised Pork Belly recipe is a Chinese family favourite, very simple to cook and great for dinner parties. It’s a one-pot recipe where you just put the ingredients in the pot and let it cook for a few hours with very little intervention.
Slow Cooked Pork Belly Recipe
Here I am using my Crockpot which has a 4l capacity and is more than enough to make this recipe. I like the removable stoneware bowl that comes with this Crockpot as you can serve this on the table straight from the pot and makes it very easy to clean. This slow cooker model has 3 settings, High, Low and Warm. There is a digital version which has programmable settings, you can set a start time and it has an auto warming feature too. You can read the full spec here on Amazon.
How to cook pork belly in a crockpot
Pork belly is a cut of meat that needs slow cooking to tenderise. Using a Crockpot or slow cooker is ideal. For any pork belly recipe, you can convert the timings to cook this in the slow cooker. One of the advantages of this is that you don’t have to watch the pan on the stove as that is likely to burn or dry up, even with regular stirring. After 2-3 hours, the belly pork would have cooked through, the meat and fat is meltingly soft that you can even cut it with a spoon. It is simply the most pain free way to cook this delicious cut of pork. Instead of this recipe, you can use a BBQ dry rub and you will end up with pulled pork. You can use the seasonings in this pulled pork recipe too.
Slow Cooker Braised Pork Belly
- 2 kg belly pork cut into small pieces
- 2 thumb size pieces of ginger
- 5 star anise
- 8 tbsp dark soya sauce
- 8 tbsp Shao Xing rice wine or cooking sherry if you can't get that
- 5 tbsp sugar or to taste
- 5 cloves of garlic don't need to peel
- 1 head of broccoli
- Boil the pork in a pot of water for about 15 minutes and skim off the scum.
- Transfer pork into the slow cooker and add in all other ingredients
- Cook on high for about 1 hour and turn it down to low for a further 3. If you want to leave it all day, just bring it to a boil and turn it down to low for up to 8 hours.
- After 4 hours, the fat would have rendered down and the meat is tender.
- You can test for seasoning at this point and add more soya sauce or sugar as needed.
- Cut the broccoli into florets and steam when ready to serve. I like to decorate my serving bowl with broccoli as the bright green is a nice contrast to the bowl of meat.
- Serve with hot steamed rice.
This is a dish that I like to cook for Chinese New Year, making it extra special with some dried shitake mushrooms. Here are some other Chinese Slow Cooker recipes you can try.
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How to choose the right slow cooker
- Size. The size is the first thing to consider. Do you normally cook for a big family or just for two. The bigger ones take up a lot of space on your kitchen counter if you don’t use it often. I have both the smallest one and this 4 L Crockpot for different purposes. I use the small one to make 2 portions of soup.
- Manual or Digital controls. Most slow cookers have manual settings, with just a low or high setting. The newer ones have digital controls. The digital versions have automatic countdowns and automatic keep warm features.
- Shape. You have a choice of a round or oval shape and the right one for you depends on what you want to cook in it.
- Removable Bowl. Most the bowls in the larger slow cookers are removable. They are usually made of stoneware and are strong enough to be used in the oven and dishwasher safe.
- Glass lid. I like the s sturdy glass lid that will sit on the pot nicely with no gaps and you can check how the food is cooking without opening the lid.
Here is a selection from Amazon:
Slow cookers are not that high tech and consequently, they are very reasonably priced for a very helpful piece of kitchen equipment.
This is a family sized, 4.7 l digital slow cooker, with a programmable countdown timer and a hinged lid. A bit more bells and whistles than the one I have above. You can check out the prices at Amazon.
This one is the manual version not digital, so it’s cheaper. It does the same job but you can’t programme a start time and there is not auto warming feature.
Note: The Crockpot was gifted.
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