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Chairman Mao's favorite dish Braised Pork Belly served with Steamed Bread

Recently at a Bay Area chowdown we were served this dish and I want to reserve engineer it.

On the menu it said that it was cooked with a red bean base sauce. I have check my kitchen on what I would use to copy the light sweet sauce. It is cooked very much like the Braised Pork Shank style (Shanghai) but it lighter in color and as well as not as sweet. This is a Hunan dish.

I can copy the texture but it is the sauce that worries me. I know of no red bean cooking sauce. I have a couple of soy bean sauce which I think will give me that flavor I want.

So my question to this board is there a red bean sauce bottle or a sauce made from red beans.

Chairman Mao called it brain food, but I tasted like comfort food to me.


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  1. have a look at this recipe--


    This recipe (supposedly Mao's favorite according to his nephew) makes no mention of it, but if you need to use bean sauce for your version you are probably looking for simple Ground Bean Sauce (I use Koon Chun's version)...it is the base for many such dishes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: The Professor

      This recipe is close to the ones I have already gotten from a couple of friends. Neither had the red beans discussed in the menu.

      I will have to tried it soon.

    2. My dad used to make a pork belly dish using fermented red bean curd (nom yee?) as one of the ingreds. If this sounds right, I can ask my mother about the recipe. However, the dish would most likely be cantonese.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Sarah

        It not Nom Yee that one I know. I have the Cantonese and Shanghai one already


      2. Is the recipe enough to serve a gang of four? ;-)

        1 Reply
        1. re: Antilope

          Not if is the only dish. As a part of meal with at least one other dish, yes. This dish can be served on a bed of vegetables and sandwiched between steamed bread or over rice sure serve four.

        2. i searched online in Chinese and this recipe keeps coming up http://baike.baidu.com/view/151542.htm
          Here's the google translator version

          3 Replies
          1. re: vliang

            Thank you very much for your efforts to help us make this dish. Unfortunately, the translation is not so good always. What is: "Ingredients: 500 grams holly"?

            1. re: Joebob

              It's bascially the bed of greens you saute to put the meat on for presentation. I think even some baby bok choy will do.

              1. re: vliang

                Thank you for the clarification. I never would have guessed that is what "holly" meant.

          2. BTW... it does call for fu lu ( 腐乳) in the recipe. But not sure what specifically hong shao ruo fu lu (紅燒肉腐乳) is. Maybe in China there is a specific fu lu used for red cooking meat?

            6 Replies
            1. re: vliang

              No, it would just be regular 腐乳, or fermented bean curd.

              What gives the pork the "red" color (which is really better described as a dark crimson) is the soy sauce, carmelization from the sugar and the star anise.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                I too check out on line recipes (F. Dunlap's) and called a few friends who have more knowledge in this areas cooking methods. I think that using a on line recipe and adding a couple of spoons of red bean (soy bean base) it should give my desire results. I will be trying it next week. What the on line showed dishes with much less sauce than the dish we had a Mao's. It was not so dark but a little lighter than the one in the pictures.

                1. re: yimster

                  Are you sure the restaurant wasn't using Chinese fermented black bean paste?

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Very sure that there was no fermented black bean. The taste and color was not dark enough. This type of sauce is more Southern Chinese and used less in Center and Northern China. When I make I will know for sure. Too bad I have six meals planned ahead. So it will be next weekend before I get around to cooking this dish. The sauce a light red so if there was black bean it would be a very dark red/black sauce.

                    When we had the dish I figure out the cooking method but need some advise on the sauce. The methods is very close to the Cantonese Kow Yuke expect for the sauce and some middle steps.

                    1. re: yimster

                      Definitely no fermented black bean in this dish.
                      I wonder if the version you had used sweetened Red Bean paste (the stuff commonly used in various Chinese baked goods and in 8 Treasures Rice)?
                      I don't think it would be really traditional to the dish (although there are multiple traditions for most dishes), but that sounds like what you may have tasted according to your description. It would explain both the color and the sweetness.

                      1. re: The Professor

                        Color would be closer, but the sweetened Red Bean paste would not be something I would normally use for a savory dish. I will try a red bean paste (made of soy beans) as a base for the sauce and instead of refined sugar I was going to use rock or yellow sugar (Chinese Bing Tong). If it works I get back to you all.