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Mei Cai Kou Rou on a plate.
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5 from 4 votes

Mei Cai Kou Rou (Steamed Pork Belly with Preserved Mustard Greens 梅菜扣肉)

Mei Cai Kou Rou is poached and deep fried to get its signature texture, then steamed for the juiciest mouthful. My secret? Steam for longer!
Prep Time1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time3 hrs 45 mins
Total Time5 hrs 15 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian, Cantonese, Chinese, Hakka
Servings: 6
Calories: 591kcal
Author: Jeannette

Equipment

  • Steamer

Ingredients

For The Pork Belly

  • 500 g / 1.1 lb pork belly
  • 1/4 US cup Shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry)
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 20 g / 0.04 lb ginger (sliced)
  • 4 bay leaves (dried)
  • 2 1/2 L / 10.5 US cup water (for boiling)
  • cooking oil (for deep frying)

For The Marinade

  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon powder
  • 2 tsp sugar (or to taste)
  • 3 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry)
  • 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 cube red fermented bean curd (smashed into a paste)

For the Preserved Mustard Greens

  • 250 g / 0.55 lb preserved mustard greens
  • 4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 6 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp sugar (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon powder
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • water (for soaking)

Instructions

  • Prepare the mustard greens by rinsing it in cold water. Repeat this 10 times or until the water runs clear, then let it soak for 30 minutes.
    Note: Different brands will require different soaking times. Some have a higher salt concentration than others, which will mean the greens will have to soaked for longer to reduce the saltiness.
  • Get the wok on high until smoking, then sear the pork belly skin side down for 2 minutes or until charred. This is done to remove any excess fur and smells.
  • Put the pork in warm water and scrape the char off.
  • Fill a pot up with 2.5L (10.6 US cup) water and turn the heat up to high. Add 1/4 US cup cooking wine, the sliced ginger and spring onion knot in.
  • Place the pork belly in the water and let it boil for 30 minutes on high heat. Precooking the meat will help the it hold its shape when steaming.
  • Meanwhile, give the mustard greens a final wash and rinse and drain it using a colander. Dry it as much as you can.
    Pro Tip: We wring them then use paper towels to pat the greens dry.
  • Finely chop the mustard greens and garlic, then set them aside for later.
  • After 30 minutes, take the pork out and pat them completely dry. Keep the liquid in the pot for later.
  • Coat the dark soy sauce evenly over the skin to give it color, then rub the salt over the skin to soak up some of the excess moisture. This will help to reduce the oil splatters when it gets fried.
  • Fill the wok up with enough oil to fry the pork skin. For our wok, it was roughly 1.5L.
  • Fry the pork skin side down for 1 minute or until golden brown, then put it back into the liquid it was boiling in earlier. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
    Note: This step is done to give the skin that signature wrinkled look.
  • Slice the pork into thin slices and put them into a bowl. The thickness will depend on your preference, but we like ours roughly 1cm (0.4" thick).
  • Add the smashed fermented red bean curd, garlic, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, chicken bouillon powder, sugar, salt and Chinese cooking wine and mix it all up.
  • Line the sliced pork in a steam-safe dish, skin side down. Make sure they are arranged so you can see each layer when it's turned over.
  • Pour the leftover sauce mixture over the pork belly.
  • Heat up a wok on high heat and add the mustard greens in. Stir fry it until dry, then transfer into a bowl.
  • Add 6 tbsp oil to the wok and cook the garlic on medium heat for 30 seconds or until aromatic.
  • Add the mustard greens back in and stir fry for 2 minutes, then season with the chicken bouillon powder, salt, sugar and light soy sauce. Stir fry for 2 minutes over a low-medium heat.
  • Pour the mustard greens over the pork belly slices and put the dish into a steamer to steam for 2 hours on high heat. Make sure the lid is on the whole time.
  • When ready, remove the dish from the steamer. Use a smaller plate to press it against the Mei Cai Kou Rou and pour the sauce out into a bowl while holding the meat so it stays in the dish.
  • Leave the excess sauce aside, then replace the smaller place with a larger one. It should be big enough to be wider than the steamed dish.
  • Hold the plate and dish tightly together and carefully flip them both over.
  • Take the steamed dish off to reveal the Mei Cai Rou Kou.
  • Optional: Pour the excess sauce back into a wok over a medium heat and slowly add in a starch slurry (2 tbsp potato starch mixed with 3 tbsp water), 2 tsp sugar and 1/2 cup water to thicken it before adding it on top.
  • Drizzle the sauce over the finished pork and serve immediately as is with rice!

Notes

  • Steam for longer. Two hours would be the minimum, but the longer the more tender.
  • Slice the meat thinner. This will help it cook faster, which means each slice will end up being softer if cooked for the same period of time.
  • Marinate the pork slices overnight. We do this with many recipes for deeper flavors.
  • We often opt for cuts with a higher fat to meat ratio to get a juicier bite, but choose what you like best.
  • If you want a sweeter kick in your marinade, increase the sugar to 2 tbsp and melt it over a low heat until it forms caramel, then brush it over the skin before spreading on the other mixed sauces.
  • Some recipes use oyster sauce (or an appropriate substitute) as part their marinade, some use red fermented bean curd and some don't. Use it if you prefer that taste profile.
  • For the preserved mustard greens, some recipes also call for aromatics including star anise, dried chili and green Sichuan peppercorns. Add these if you like those flavors.

Nutrition

Calories: 591kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 55g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 4790mg | Potassium: 245mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 13IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1mg