Twice Cooked Pork (回鍋肉)

One of my favorite ways to cook up pork with a wonderful balance of fat and meat. I usually use cuts from pork shoulder or belly.


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  • Pork belly or fatty part of pork shoulder, 1 pound. A long rectangular block with approximately a 2:1 ratio of meat to fat is a good balance.

  • Chinese bean paste (豆瓣酱), about 1 tbsp. This is the spicy stuff and is what turns the dish red. In a pinch, this can be substituted with gochujang.

  • Fermented black beans (豆豉), about 1 tsp (optional, but it adds a nice saltiness to the dish)

  • Light soy sauce, 1 tsp

  • Dark soy sauce, 1 tsp (optional). The main effect of this ingredient is to darken the dish and add some more savory flavor.

  • Shaoxing wine, 1 tsp

  • Sugar, 1 tsp

  • Minced garlic

  • Minced ginger

  • Sliced green vegetables (chives and/or scallions)

  • Cooking oil

As usual, take these measurements as guidelines. Modify the proportions to your liking.


  1. Boil the pork for about 20 minutes, or until it’s fully cooked through. Remove from the boiling water and submerge it in cold water. Let it cool, which will make the meat firm up.

  2. Cut the pork belly cross-sectionally in about $\frac{1}{8}$ inch slices. Set it aside.

  3. Mince the garlic and ginger and set it aside.

  4. If you want to include any vegetables, now is the time to slice them.

  5. Heat up a wok, add the cooking oil, and toss the sliced pork in for a quick stir until the surface is lightly browned. Remove the pork from the heat.

  6. Add some more cooking oil to the same wok, then toss in the aromatics - fir sthe garlic and ginger, then the Chinese bean paste and fermented black beans.

  7. Add the cooked pork back in and stir thoroughly.

  8. Add the flavor components – soy sauce, dark soy sauce, shaoxing wine, sugar. Give it all a good stir.

  9. Add the sliced vegetables and mix. Let it cook until the flavors are infused but the vegetables are still firm. Serve.

Why boil the pork?

Boiling the pork, then letting it rest and cool firms everything up. It allows for some pretty thin slices, which in turn cooks really well in the wok.