Hong Shao Rou

3 to 4 servings


  • Pork butt, cubed — 1 1/2 pounds
  • Gingerroot, thinly sliced — a 1/2-inch piece
  • Whole star anise (optional) — 2
  • Sugar — 2 teaspoons
  • Salt and pepper — to taste
  • Stock or water — 1 cup
  • Dark soy sauce — 1/4 cup
  • Rice wine or sherry (optional) — 1-2 tablespoons


  1. Add all the ingredients to a large pot or wil and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the meat is very tender.
  2. Adjust seasoning and serve with rice.

Hong Shao Rou (Red-Cooked Pork) Variations

  • Meat: The meat can first be blanched in boiling water or seared until browned if you like. Try red-cooking a whole, bone-in pork butt. Pork belly is a particular favorite for red-cooking. Or substitute cubed beef, a whole chicken, chicken thighs or wings. Turn whole pieces of meat periodically for even cooking and coloring. The meat is sometimes cooled in the sauce and then served cold.
  • Vegetables: Add 2 cups of chopped vegetables about 3/4 of the way through the cooking process if you like and continue to simmer until they are cooked through. Possible vegetables: chopped carrots, turnips, daikon, potatoes, onions or scallions.
  • Sauce: Use rock sugar instead of granulated sugar if you can find it. Some cooks use a combination of light and dark soy sauce. Substitute 2 teaspoons of 5-spice powder for the star anise for more complex seasoning.


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