I’m playing catch-up with my F1 pairing posts at the moment. I knew it was ambitious when taking it on and the last couple of weeks, post-Brewsvegas, I haven’t committed enough time to the blog as I would have liked. Nevertheless, I’m cracking on and determined to complete a post for each race, however late.
With the Chinese GP held in Shanghai last weekend, I embarked on making Hong Shao Rou or Red Braised Pork Belly – a dish popular and well-known in the region – and searching for a suitably delicious beer pairing.
As luck would have it, local beer bar Brewski had shipped up a bunch of Batch Brewing Co. beers from Marrickville, Sydney; amongst them the popular Wardell Nut Brown Ale. With it’s malt accents and earthy nut backdrop it was somewhat of a serendipitous match.
The malty overtones lend themselves to the sticky sweetness of the pork’s coating, while the beer’s the subtle nuttiness is accentuates the earthiness of the accompanying rice. The malt-forward brew is a nice change up too to a meat that is often served with lighter, crispier styles and cider. The charred and caramelised soy – sticky and sweet – meets its match in the dry, malted caramel undertones of the beer. It’s sweet and salty caramel goodness with a hit of roastiness once that beer swills over the palate. But don’t take my word for it…
What you need:
- 1.5kg pork belly (as lean as you can get)
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup Chinese rice wine
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 3/4 cup water
What to do:
1. Cut the pork belly into approx. 2cm cubes. Blanch pork for 2 minutes in a pot of boiling water to remove any impurities. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat oil and sugar in a wok over medium heat. Once the sugar has melted add the pork and cook until lightly browned.
3. Turn the heat down to low and add the remaining ingredients. Simmer uncovered for 45 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes to prevent it burning. (Add more water if it gets too dry). Once the sauce has reduced to a sticky coating, remove from heat and transfer to a serving dish. Serve with steamed rice and a beer of your choosing.