Red Cooking is a classic Chinese braising technique that really just means that you cook meat of tofu in Soy Sauce, or in this case, Tamari. It is a slow way of infusing food with the Umami flavor. I previously posted a version using Pork Belly that was my Mother's recipe, but I wanted a slightly more savory version and I decided to add in some Napa Cabbage and served it along with some Rice. I used boneless Pork Shoulder that I bought as Steaks and cut it up into smallish pieces and cut away most of the fat. This sauce also works for Chicken Things and Tofu although the cooking time will be much shorter (one hour for Chicken and 30 minutes for Tofu) and you will have a lot of extra sauce so use half as much for Tofu. I just put everything in the pot and cooked it a while. I thought it was the perfect meal for this cold Autumn evening and I loved smelling it cooking on the stove and it was delicious. It reminded me of my Mother's in the best of ways.
Red Cooked Pork with Napa Cabbage
1-1/2 pound of Pork Shoulder, cut into cubes (or Chicken Things or Tofu)
4 cups Water
1/2 cup low sodium Tamari (used a little less if using regular Tamari or Soy Sauce)
1/2 cup Rice Wine
1/2 yellow Onion, chopped
4 - 5 Green Onions, white part only
a 1" chunk of Ginger, needed and cut in half
1 Tablespoon of Rock Sugar (or Light Brown Sugar)
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon Five Spice Powder
6 - 8 whole Napa Cabbage leaves, bottom trimmed off and cut into 1" pieces
In a Dutch oven or other large heavy pot, add in all ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for two hours for Pork or one hour for Chicken, or until the meat is tender. Add in the Napa Cabbage and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serve with steamed Rice.
Five Element Analysis
Pork belongs to the Water Element and so does the Tamari. The Rice Wine contributes the Fire Element. The Napa Cabbage, since it is a leafy green, brings in the Wood Element and the Onions and Rice along with the Five Spice Powder make sure that the Metal Element is present too. There's only a little bit of the Earth Element, from the Sugar and Ginger, So serve a lovely Earthy dessert to create a balanced meal.