Steamed Pork Belly

This is the ultimate winter comfort food but it also appears at fancier banquets. It’s fancier name is “Tiger Skin Steamed Pork” due to its stripy appearance. It can be steamed with rehydrated dried mustard greens (available in Asian markets, called meicai in Mandarin) or simply inverted over a plate of blanched or stirfried fresh mustard greens. Although the cooking process is simple, it requires a lot of time to steam – luckily it is the ultimate “do-ahead” dish and can be made in large quantities and frozen.




  1. Place the pork in a pot with enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook approximately 10 m, just until it loses its pink color throughout. Remove and pat dry, then use a fork to prick the skin in a few places. (You can reserve the broth for another dish.)
  2. Heat the oil in a wok over high heat until it shimmers, then add the pork, skin side down, and fry approximately 3-5 m, until the skin is deep brown. Remove and let the meat rest until cool enough to handle.
  3. With the skin side down on the cutting board, cut into 1/2″ slices, then layer the slices in a heatproof bowl so that the skin of each piece  touches the bottom of the bowl. Any extra meat can go on the top.
  4. Sprinkle with the remaining ingredients, then steam for at least 1.5 hours. The longer you steam it, the more tender it will become.
  5. To serve, carefully pour off and reserve the accumulated juices, then invert the meat onto a deep serving dish and pour the juices back over it.

do ahead:

  • You can make this dish up to a day ahead, cool it in the bowl, then refrigerate. Reheat in the steamer (this will take approximately 30 m) before serving.
  • You can also make this dish far in advance, cool and freeze it, tightly covered. It can then be defrosted in the refrigerator overnight and reheated in the steamer (approximately 30 m). This is particularly useful if you have a large piece of meat – you can divide it into more than 1 meal.

nutritional data:

This dish definitely falls into the “eat in moderation” category (which I view as a totally valid, healthy category!) – it is extremely rich and a bit on the salty side. I usually find that 2 slices is more than enough – this recipe will serve 4-6, and the figures given are per serving based on 6 servings. For simplicity’s sake, I have assumed that what fat is simmered out of the pork is replaced when it is fried, and I have left out the black beans.

  • Total calories 395, calories from fat 361
  • Total fat 40 g, saturated fat 15 g
  • Cholesterol 54 mg
  • Sodium 347 mg
  • Total carbs 0 g, dietary fiber 0 g, sugars 0 g
  • Protein 8 g

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s