A slab of pork belly is pressure cooked in aromatic spices and soy sauce to give you that melt-in-the-mouth meat that you can later turn into kong bak pau or for other use.
KONG TAU YU BAK
The talk about pork belly gets my kids’ eyes wide open. They LOVE pork belly. This piece of meat probably gets the most loves in our household 🙂 I grew up with my mom’s braised pork belly dish that we usually called kong bak or kung bak or kong tau yu bak in Hokkien, which means braised pork in soy sauce. The pork are usually cut into smaller pieces and then braised in soy sauce and other aromatics, potatoes and hard-boiled eggs, similar to what the Vietnamese call Thit Kho Tau. The golden brown color in this kong bak is achieved by braising the meat in soy sauce and dark soy sauce and not from caramelizing sugar like in the Vietnamese Thit Kho.
This time I’m making this kong bak to accompany the momofuku flat steamed buns to make kong bak pau or translated to braised pork steamed buns/slider.
1. Chinese rock sugar
They look like crystal rocks. Sometimes known as rock sugar or bing tang in Mandarin. The Chinese likes to use rock sugar to sweeten the drinks, dessert, and in cooking. It’s not as sweet as regular sugar and it’s a nice addition to this dish because it has that subtle sweetness
Substitution: Regular granulated sugar
2. Dark soy sauce
You may be familiar with regular soy sauce, or sometimes known as light soy sauce. Dark soy sauce is usually added to add that dark caramel color to the overall dish. In Indonesia, this is usually kecap manis. But Chinese dark soy sauce isn’t as sweet compared to kecap manis. The texture is thicker and less salty compared to regular soy sauce.
I LIKE TO USE INSTANT POT PRESSURE COOKER TO PRESSURE COOK PORK BELLY(not sponsored)
The meat is tender without breaking apart and instant pot may not be “instant” like you think, but I really like the convenience of it. I feel safe using the pressure cooker feature, which I never felt that way with a regular pressure cooker. The pork belly really tastes like it has been braised the traditional way on stove-top!
HOW TO MAKE PRESSURE COOKER KONG BAK
1. SEAR THE MEAT (optional)
My mom usually doesn’t do this, but searing the meat will add extra flavor and also deeper color. You can sear the meat in Instant pot by pressing saute and then once it’s hot, add about 1 tbsp of cooking oil and sear the meat until golden brown all over. Alternatively, you can sear the meat using cast-iron pan until golden brown.
2. PRESSURE COOK
If you searing the meat on the pan, transfer pork belly to Instant pot. Add water, aromatics, and seasonings to instant pot. Cover the lid, turn to seal, set pressure cooker timer to 45 minutes.
3. REST AND THEN SLICE
Once the timer is up, release pressure immediately. Once the pressure valve has collapsed, gently remove pork belly to a chopping board and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Save the cooking liquid.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH THIS KONG TAU YU BAK
1. KONG BAK PAU. Sandwich that slice of pork belly in between this Momofuku Style Flat Steamed Buns
2. PORK BELLY TACO. Shred the meat for your taco..pork belly taco? ring any bell?
2. SOMEN NOODLE WITH PAN-FRIED PORK BELLY. Lightly pan fry the slices of pork belly and served it with noodle like this somen noodle with pan-fried pork belly
4. CHASU RAMEN. Serve it with ramen noodles. This soy sauce braised pork belly is very similar to the Japanese Chasu.
5. PORK BELLY SALAD
Serve this slices of braised pork belly (or even pan fried then a bit) and served with some spring mix
6. PORK BELLY CONGEE
Serve this with a bowl of plain rice porridge (congee)
The family loves this pressure cooker soy sauce braised pork belly so much. Even my daughter who is not much of a meat-eater gave her thumbs UP!
*Recipe is written for 6-quart Instant Pot. Cooking time should remain the same for 8-quart size but will take longer to pressurize. For mini duo (3-quart), I recommend to half the recipe and use the same amount of time to cook*
DID YOU MAKE THIS PRESSURE COOKER KONG BAK RECIPE?
I love it when you guys snap a photo and tag to show me what you’ve made 🙂 Simply tag me @WhatToCookToday #WhatToCookToday on Instagram and I’ll be sure to stop by and take a peek for real!
Pressure Cooker Kong Bak (Chinese Braised Pork Belly)
- 3 lbs pork belly with skin in one large piece
- 1/2 tsp five-spice powder
- 2 cups water
- 1 large onion peeled and diced
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 medium cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- Cilantro leaves for garnish
- Pat the pork belly dry with an absorbent paper towel. Rub the pork belly with five-spice powder and set aside for 30 minutes
Searing the meat (this is optional):
- Searing the meat help to keep the meat moist, but you can skip this step if you don't want to. My mom usually doesn't sear the meat too. You can sear the meat in Instant pot by pressing saute and then once it's hot, add about 1 tbsp of cooking oil and sear the meat until golden brown all over. Alternatively, you can sear the meat using cast-iron pan until golden brown
Pressure cook with Instant pot:
- If you searing the meat on the pan, transfer pork belly to Instant pot. Add water, aromatics, and seasonings to instant pot. Cover the lid, turn to seal, set pressure cooker timer to 45 minutes. This is perfect if you are going to use slice the pork belly later. It's tender but not going to fall apart when you slice it. If you want it really really tender, set it to 1 hour. This is perfect if you are going to shred or chop the meat up later for use in like for example tacos, etc.
- Once the timer is up, release pressure immediately. Once the pressure valve has collapsed, gently remove pork belly to a chopping board and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Save the cooking liquid
Cooking on stove-top:
- Transfer pork belly to a large heavy-bottom pot. Add water, aromatics, and seasonings. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat, cover the lid and let it simmer for the next 1.5 to 2 hours or until the pork belly is tender
- Let the pork belly rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Save the cooking liquid
- Slice pork belly into serving pieces (large or bite-size is up to you). You can serve this with noodle, rice, momofuku steamed buns, taco, or even salad. Read my post above for more details
WHAT ELSE CAN I COOK WITH PORK BELLY?
I got 10 lbs of pork belly from Costco and I portion them out into 4 and freeze. You can make these with pork belly:
HAKKA KAU YUK (PORK BELLY AND TARO)
SOMEN NOODLE SOUP WITH PAN-FRIED PORK BELLY
THE EASIEST CRISPY SIO BAK / SIU YUK / ROASTED PORK BELLY WITH CRACKLINGS