Chairman Mao’s Red-Braised Pork

Chairman Mao’s Red-Braised pork is a dish that in Hunan is inseparably bound up with the memory of Chairman Mao: Some restaurants call it “The Mao Family’s red-braised pork.” Mao Zedong (Chairman Mao) loved this dish very much, and insisted his Hunanese chefs cook it for him in Beijing. It’s a robust concoction, best eaten with plain steamed rice and simple stir-fried vegetables; the sweet, aromatic chunks of meat are irresistible.

In keeping with traditional Chinese gastronomy, which seeks to make a medical virtue out of every dietary predilection, the people of Mao’s home village, Shaoshan, recommend red-braised pork as a health food: “Men eat it to build their brains,” Chairman Mao’s nephew Mao Anping assured , “and ladies to make themselves more beautiful.”  His friend and neighbor, the Shaoshan communist party secretary, told me he ate two bowlfuls a day to keep his intellect in shape. Of course this argument is sure a bit exaggerated.

Chairman Mao’s Red-Braised Pork recipe:

Chairman Mao's Red-Braised Pork

Ingredients Chairman Mao’s Red-Braised Pork recipe:

1 pound pork belly
Scallion greens
Star anise
2 dried red chilies
Small cinnamon stick
¾-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
Soy sauce, salt, and sugar

Directions to cook Chairman Mao’s Red-Braised Pork recipe:

1, Plunge pork belly into a pan of boiling water and simmer until partially cooked (about 3-4 minutes). Then, remove and cut into bite-size chunks.

2,  Heat oil and sugar in a wok over medium heat until sugar melts, then raise the heat and stir until sugar turns caramel brown.

3, Add pork and  Shao-Hsing wine. Add ginger, star anise, chilies, cinnamon, and enough water to cover pork. Bring to a boil, then simmer (40-50 minutes). Turn up heat to reduce sauce, and season with soy sauce, salt, and sugar.

4, Garnish with scallion greens. Serve

Note: Vegetarian variations of this recipe use garlic gloves, deep-fried bean curd, preserved mustard greens and water chestnuts as main ingredients.

Enjoy Chairman Mao’s Red-Braised Pork with  plain steamed rice and simple stir-fried vegetables!

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One Response to “Chairman Mao’s Red-Braised Pork”

  1. Lisa says:

    I love this dish.

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