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How to Make Fuchsia Dunlop's Shanghai Red-Braised Pork with Eggs

This entry-level Chinese classic from an award-winning cookbook author takes only a few ingredients and is even better the next day.

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Photo: Food Network Kitchen

A Step-by-Step Guide

"This is real mama's cooking," declares Fuchsia Dunlop approvingly as she watches chunks of tender pork belly bobbing about in a gorgeous mahogany bath of soy sauce, ginger and scallion. The James Beard-award winning author is in Food Network Kitchen demonstrating how to make Shanghai Red-Braised Pork with Eggs, one of the dozens of seductive dishes she lays out in her new book, Land of Fish and Rice. Here is a step-by-step lesson for beginners.

By Lygeia Grace; photographs by Heather Ramsdell and Angela Carlos

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Photo: Heather Ramsdell

Better the Next Day

The mechanics of the dish are simple: You sear and then simmer the pork in a flavorful stew scented with a few aromatics until the meat yields to the touch. And like other, similar homespun dishes — think beef bourguignon, braised lamb shanks or pork adobo — it's even better the next day. According to one legend Dunlop retells, the dish got its start as a welcome meal for a traveling son returning home; he was days late, but the stew’s flavor only improved each morning his mother heated it up in anticipation of his arrival. This makes it practical in modern times, too, says Dunlop, "It's a good dish to make a day in advance and chill for a dinner party. The last thing you want is every dish on your menu to be a stir fry or you will never talk to your friends." On a visit from her native England, Dunlop stopped by to show FNK chefs Vivian Chan and Ginevra Iverson how it's done. 

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Photo: Angela Carlos

Blanch the Pork

"Red braising is used across China," says Fuchsia Dunlop of the cooking technique in which ingredients are stewed with soy sauce, wine and sugar. (The "red" comes from the color the food takes on from the soy sauce.) Cooks use it "to coax pork belly into ecstatic tenderness," she writes in in her book. But before any seasonings are added, the meat is "cleaned" by parboiling it. "You get rid of the bloody juices for a clear result," says Dunlop. After boiling the pork for 5 minutes, she drains and rinses the meat under cold running water.

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Photo: Angela Carlos

Slit the Eggs

Peel your hard-cooked eggs and then make 6 to 8 shallow slashes in each. "Cut through the white reasonably deep, but not so it falls apart," instructs Dunlop.  Perfectly boiled eggs are not the point here, she says. After simmering with the pork "'they are going to be 'overcooked' anyway."

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