Nov 17

Five Spice Braised Pork Belly



5 Spice Braised Pork Belly1



Pork belly, that oh so beautiful cut of piggy that produces a myriad of guilty pleasure meals: bacon (yes, bacon is a meal on its own), bak kut teh, roast pork with crackling (*swoon*) and then there is this one … the braised version in dark sauce. I actually have no idea what it’s called in English, so I simply refer to it as Chinese 5-Spice braised pork belly. Usually cooked in a claypot over a long period of time, my version is cooked in a pressure cooker (win!) which halves the cooking time to just 30 mins.


Ingredients for this dish are pretty basic, just be sure to get yourself a nice bottle of Chinese 5-spice powder as it is the secret ingredient that pulls all the elements together. This “special ingredient” is essentially a blend of star anise, cloves, cinnamon bark, peppercorns and fennel seeds all ground up into a wonderfully savoury powder. This powder is typically used as a dry rub on pork, duck and even in fried Chinese doughnuts. Yum yum, I miss those doughnuts a lot. But we are here to talk about pork not doughnuts. If you cannot find this spice rub in your local store then just grind your own using equal amounts of the spices listed above. I found a particularly good article on the subject of this spice here: High Five ~ Chinese Five Spice Powder



Chinese 5-spice powder





Five Spice Braised Pork Belly. 

1 kg pork belly

generous amt of salt

5 cloves garlic

5 slices ginger

1 tbsp thick caramel sauce (kicap pekat)

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 star anise

1 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder

½ cup water

Chinese mushrooms (optional)



So to begin, grab yourself a hunk of pork belly and cut it up into large chunks. You want it large and chunky to compensate for some shrinking during the cooking process.


Place in a mixing bowl and season generously with salt. Rub thoroughly all over the pork. Then rub on the sesame oil, 5-spice powder and both sauces.


Place in the pressure cooker pot along with the ginger slices, whole cloves of garlic and star anise.


Add the water, cover the pot and cook for 30 mins on medium heat.


Once the meat is cooked, skim off the layer of fat and add in the black mushrooms, if using.



5 Spice Braised Pork Belly




R. has never tried this dish before and I was almost anticipating him to reject his dinner that night, but to my surprise he loved it … so I guess this recipe is a keeper and will be used time and again when we want a hearty meal without shelling out loads of cash for prime cuts. Pork belly is relatively cheap ~ well, here in the Netherlands it is ~ and for two people, this dish is enough for two days.


I used to only know how to make one thing with pork belly, and that was to roast it until the skin got nice and crispy. But I don’t always want to wait four hours for dinner to be ready, and I don’t always want to eat belly of pork with potatoes. I am still learning to broaden by cooking horizons, so I am taking it a dish at a time. It’s good to know I have two good recipes under my belt: one Asian and one Western.



5 Spice Braised Pork Belly2




This dish is obviously pretty fatty and moorish, so it is a good idea to serve this along side lighter dishes like steamed veggies, tofu or a simple soup made with vegetables and broth. And tea! Don’t forget the piping hot tea to further cut through the richness of it all. All the better to warm you up during cold winter nights.



~ Enjoy! ~



Permanent link to this article: http://foodflurries.com/savoury/five-spice-braised-pork-belly


  1. Gina Smith

    This sounds like a wonderful dish for me to attempt.. Savanna especially loves pork belly, so will make this when she comes back for Christmas. You are blessed with a fantastic talent and skill, I hope you are considering, at some point in time, to take it further.

    1. bubviv

      Hey aunty Gina. Yes this dish turned out wonderfully and it’s pretty easy to do. Pressure cookers do all the work for you. Good luck!

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