This Sticky Chinese Pork Belly is one of my absolute favourite recipes on the blog. Check out my three step process for pork that’s meltingly tender, with a crispy exterior and gloriously sticky/sweet/spicy coating.
I wonder how many recipes I’ve published with sticky in the title…
Sticky chicken stir fry, Gingerbread cake with Sticky Whisky glaze, sticky Asian sea bass this sticky pork belly and AT LEAST ten others (just did a quick count). I’m all about the sticky. Just call me sticky Nicky.
Actually don’t. That sounds weird.
I sometimes like to kid myself and call it caramelized – like this ‘caramelized beef brisket’. But at the end of the day, I just mean coated in some kind of sugar and then cooked until you reach the dark brown, shiny stage, creating an intense flavour that takes whatever you’ve just made to a whole new level. How could anything finished in that way not taste amazing?
For this recipe, the sticky layer is added right at the end. Don’t be fooled though. Just because the pork hasn’t been marinating for hours, doesn’t mean it’s not going to taste amazing (I confused myself with double negatives there, but I’m basically saying it tastes amazing even though we’re only glazing at the end).
📋 What do we need?
For the slow-cooked pork belly
For the sticky glaze
📺 Watch how to make it
Full recipe with detailed steps in the recipe card at the end of this post.
- This pork actually has three layers of flavour. The first coming from being slow-cooked in a pan for 2 hours with stock, garlic, ginger, rice wine and a little sugar:
- The second layer comes from being crisped in a pan with a little vegetable oil and seasoning (it’s actually hard not to just stop right here and eat it from the pan like this).
- The final layer coming from the soy/chilli/sugar/lemongrass and a couple of other ingredients that are stirred together, then poured over the fried pork, before bubbling away until thick and glossy.
👩🍳PRO TIP The fat can spit quite a bit at the frying stage so we use a splatter screen/guard (<<– affiliate link) to prevent hot oil spitting out all over the place.
🍽️ What to serve it with
That’s it. Three layers of flavour in a simple recipe that really does take minimal effort.
🍲 More fantastic Chinese recipes
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Sticky Chinese Pork Belly
Sticky Chinese Belly Pork – Slow-cooked until meltingly tender and then finished with a sticky chilli glaze.
Add pork belly slices, stock, ginger, garlic, rice wine and sugar to a heavy-based pan. I use a cast iron casserole pan.
1 kg (2.2lb) rindless pork belly slices, 1 litre (4+ ¼ cups) hot chicken stock, 1 thumb sized piece of ginger, 3 cloves garlic, 1 tbsp rice wine, 1 tbsp caster sugar
Bring to the boil, then place a lid on, turn down the heat and simmer for 2 hours.
Turn off the heat, remove the pork from the pan and pat it dry using kitchen towels. You can reserve the liquid if you like (Perfect for a Thai or Chinese noodle soup).
Chop the pork into bite sized chunks.
In a small bowl, mix together 1 tbsp of the oil, along with a pinch of salt and pepper, the ginger, chilli, honey, brown sugar, soy sauce and lemongrass paste.
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, 1 red chilli, 2 tbsp Honey, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 3 tbsp dark soy sauce, 1 tsp lemon grass paste, pinch of salt and pepper
Add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil to a frying pan and heat over a medium-high heat.
Add in the pork, along with a pinch of salt and pepper, and fry, turning regularly, until the pork starts to turn golden. Be careful as the oil can splatter at this stage (I recommend a splatter guard).
pinch of salt and pepper
Now pour the glaze over the pork and continue to cook for a couple of minutes, turning the pork often, until the pork looks dark and sticky.
Remove from the heat and serve. I like to top with a few spring onions and chopped chillies.
Chopped spring onions, Chopped red chillies
Yes, you can make it up to the end of step 2 (where the pork is slow cooked and then drained). Then quickly cool, cover and refrigerate (for up to two days) or freeze. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before slicing and frying the meat.
You can also make the sauce ahead, then cover and refrigerate it up to a day ahead.
Can I make it Gluten free?
Yes! Replace the soy sauce with tamari. I’ve done this several times and it works great.
Replace the rice wine with sherry (usually gluten free, but best to check).
Also make sure you use gluten free stock.
I haven’t tried this with a meat-like alternative, but my Asian-style cauliflower wings make a great alternative.
Can I use my slow cooker?
Yes, you can do the first stage in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-7 hours. Keep an eye on the level of liquid and top up with a little more if needed.
Nutritional information is per serving.
Calories: 531kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 33gFat: 38gSaturated Fat: 15gSodium: 654mgPotassium: 49mgSugar: 12gVitamin A: 70IUVitamin C: 11.2mgCalcium: 8mgIron: 0.3mg
This post was first published in March 2015. Updated in October 2018 and then again in July 2022 with new photos, video and some housekeeping.
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In order to make this recipe you will need: