Braised Pork Belly with Chestnut

Chestnut is a wonderful nut. Different from other nuts, which are not oily and crunchy but starchy and sweet. It can match well not only in sweet dishes but also savory ones, becomes a part of your daily meal. Moreover, nutrition value of chestnut is quite high. Beside Chestnut Rice, I would like to introduce another interesting dish of chestnut, Braised Pork Belly with Chestnut. Each piece of warm tender pork belly together with nutty and sweet chestnut, will definitely satisfy your taste buds.

Why Braised Pork Belly with Chestnut? I picked nearly 2 kg of chestnut in a park nearby and started to find it boring to eat roasted chestnuts only. Therefore, I looked for some ideas to take advantage of the remained chestnuts. I found this dish and immediately wanted to try making it because there was pork belly, another familiar ingredient of mine, in the kitchen. This dish seems to be popular in East Asian countries like Vietnam and China. Having dinner with it made me so happy. Let’s check the ingredients list below.

Braised Pork belly with Chestnut

Ingredients

  • Fresh Pork Belly: Consisting of layers of fat and meat, it’s commonly used in various dishes and is known for its rich flavor and tenderness. I usually buy it every two weeks to make various dishes, from stir-fry to caramelized pork belly.
Pork Belly
  • Chestnuts: The starchy, sweet, and nutty nuts hide inside hard brown skins. To make Braised Pork belly with chestnuts, you must cook them first by boiling or roasting in 15-20 minutes, then peel the brown outer layer to reveal yellow and sweet nuts used in this dish. Refer to this article for detailed instruction of roasting/boiling chestnut.
Chestnut peeled
  • Ginger: Several slices of ginger help to add a warm taste to the dish, as well as to enhance the flavor. This is a very common ingredient in Asian cuisine.
  • Star anise (optional): You may know this spice if you’re into Chinese and Vietnamese foods. It has a great aroma and becomes a signature aroma of various dishes including Pho. With Braised Pork with Chestnut, as I made it in Asian Style, I added several star anise pods in. However, it’s optional, you can skip it.
Spices for Braised Pork belly with Chestnut
  • Caramel Syrup: By heating sugar until it melts and turns brown, you’ll get caramel syrup with hundreds of applications in cooking. It adds sweetness and a rich, caramelized flavor to dishes. If this is the first time you make caramel syrup, follow my guide on how to make caramel syrup as well as how to make use of leftover caramel.
  • Seasonings (Salt, Spring Onion, White Sesame): These seasonings are used to enhance the flavor of the dish. Salt is a must to balance the sweetness of caramel syrup. After finishing the dish, you can sprinkle spring onion and white sesame on top of it for a better look as well as a richer flavor.

However, you are open to adjust the ingredients used. As long as you have pork belly, chestnut and caramel syrup, you can follow this recipe.

Instruction

In general, this is a basic dish with stir-fry technique, so it’s very easy for everybody. You’ll need only 20 minutes to finish it if all the ingredients are ready, especially peeled chestnut. In case you haven’t prepare chestnut, you can do it while frying pork belly, but total time may be a bit more, around 30-40 minutes. Let’s follow the steps below:

Step 1. Preparation

  • Rinse the pork belly thoroughly and cut it into thick pieces, approximately 2cm thick. You can season them with salt and pepper, but it’s optional.
  • Clean and score the chestnuts for easier peel after being cooked. Then, boil or roast them at 400F (200C) for about 15-20 minutes. Peel the brown skins to get the vibrant yellow nuts. Set them aside.
roasted chestnut
Roasted chestnuts
  • Spices: Slices ginger into short strings.
  • Caramel syrup: if you have store-bought or leftover caramel, just use them. If you haven’t had it ready in the kitchen, you can make caramel syrup by heating up 2 tbsp of sugar and ½ tbsp water on low heat and wait until it turns to caramel. Add several drops of sugar and turn off the heat.
making caramel from granulated sugar
  • Garnishes: Chop spring onion and roast white sesame (if any).

Step 2. Frying Pork Belly

  • Place the pork belly in a pan with oil or annatto oil (if any). When the meat starts to turn golden in one side, flip them and continue to fry until both sides are well cooked.
Braised Pork belly with Chestnut
  • Next, add spices (ginger and star anise) to the pot and stir-fry them together with pork belly to enhance the aroma.
Braised Pork belly with Chestnut
  • Then, add 2 tbsp of caramel syrup into the pan. Quickly stir all the ingredients in the pan to avoid caramel from being burnt. Add 3 tbsp of water in to simmer the meat.
Braised Pork belly with Chestnut
  • When the meat has absorbed most of the liquid, reduce the heat to medium and add the chestnuts. Continue to simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Add the salt and taste the dish to adjust if necessary. Turn off the heat.

Step 3. Serving

  • Serve the dish warm. After transferring pork belly and chestnut to a dish, sprinkle a pinch of chopped spring onion and white sesame on. Eat it as a side dish or eat with steamed rice/ chestnut rice and vegetables.
Braised Pork belly with Chestnut

Storing Braised Pork Belly with Chestnut

It’s the best when you eat everything right after cooking! However, in some cases you have to store it, transfer the leftover into an air-tight container or wrap the dish with plastic wrap, then keep it in the fridge right away. As it has pork there, it shouldn’t be stored at room temperature. It’s also not good to freeze Braise pork Belly with Chestnut as I’m afraid the texture of both pork belly and chestnut can be impacted. The dish can last in fridge up to 3-4 days, and please smell it to check if it’s alright before eating.

To reheat, easily place it in microwave for 5 minutes or more to make it warm again.

Braised Pork belly with Chestnut

Braised Pork Belly with Chestnut

Yield: 4
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Each piece of warm tender pork belly together with sweet chestnut in Braised Pork Belly with Chestnut will definitely satisfy your taste buds.

Ingredients

  • 200g (~1 cup) pork belly
  • 200g (~1 cup) peeled chestnuts
  • 2 tbsp caramel syrup
  • 3-4 star anise pods (if any)
  • 3-4 slices of ginger
  • 2/3 tbsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Garnishes: a bit spring onion, white sesame (if any)

Instructions

Step 1. Preparation

  • Rinse the pork belly thoroughly and cut it into thick pieces, approximately 2cm thick. You can season them with salt and pepper, but it’s optional.Pork Belly
  • Clean and score the chestnuts for easier peel after being cooked. Then, boil or roast them at 400F (200C) for about 15-20 minutes. Peel the brown skins to get the vibrant yellow nuts. Set them aside.how to cook chestnuts
  • Spices: Slices ginger into short strings.
  • Caramel syrup: if you have store-bought or leftover caramel, just use them. If you haven’t had it ready in the kitchen, you can make caramel syrup by heating up 2 tbsp of sugar and ½ tbsp water on low heat and wait until it turns to caramel. Add several drops of sugar and turn off the heat.how to make caramel
  • Garnishes: Chop spring onion and roast white sesame (if any).

Step 2. Frying Pork Belly

  • Place the pork belly in a pan with oil. When the meat starts to turn golden in one side, flip them and continue to fry until both sides are well cooked.Braised Pork belly with Chestnut
  • Next, add spices (ginger and star anise) to the pot and stir-fry them together with pork belly to enhance the aroma. Braised Pork belly with Chestnut
  • Then, add 2 tbsp of caramel syrup into the pan. Quickly stir all the ingredients in the pan to avoid caramel from being burnt. Add 3 tbsp of water in to simmer the meat.Braised Pork belly with Chestnut
  • When the meat has absorbed most of the liquid, reduce the heat to medium and add the chestnuts. Continue to simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Add the salt and taste the dish to adjust if necessary. Turn off the heat.

Step 3. Serving

  • Serve the dish warm. After transferring pork belly and chestnut to a dish, sprinkle a pinch of chopped spring onion and white sesame on. Eat it as a side dish or eat with steamed rice/ chestnut rice and vegetables.Braised Pork belly with Chestnut

Notes

You may need these kitchen tools to make this dish:

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 200g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 650

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Other Chestnut Recipes

Beside Braised Pork Belly with Chestnut, there are many cooler chestnut recipes, both sweet and savory dishes for you to try in the last months of the year. Let’s take a look:

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