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Red Braised Ham Hock {Hong Men Zhou Zi}

by Shirley

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Red Braised Ham Hock {Chinese Style}

Chinese Style Red Braised Ham Hock {Hong Men Zhou Zi 红焖肘子} is such a traditional well-liked Chinese food. It features soft juicy dark reddish brown pork skin with extremely yummy meat. Make this in advance and enjoy throughout the week. Add this to a bowl of noodle soup, rice or make a sandwich out of it. They are also freeze friendly.

While people from northern China call Ham Hock “Zhou Zi” {肘子}, people from the Yangtze River Delta area, home to Huai Yang Cuisine, call them “Ti Pang” {蹄膀}. Therefore, this delicious iconic food is also known as “Hong Shao Ti Pang” {红烧蹄膀}.

The appetizing color is from sugar, naturally aged soy sauce and fermented rose tofu curd.

Like Red Braised Beef Shank, it is OK to eat Red Braised Ham Hock at room temperature. In China’s Yangtze River Delta area, home to Huai Yang Cuisine, a bowl of Yang Chun Noodle topped with a slice of this yumminess is a local delicacy.

Red Braised Ham {Hong Men Zhou Zi 红焖肘子}

What Ingredients do you need to make Chinese style Red Braised Ham Hock?

Ham or ham hock work well for this recipe.

Ginger, green onion, organic unrefined cane sugar, naturally aged soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, turbinado sugar (also known as “Sugar in the Raw”), red onion and fermented rose tofu curd work magically along with spices {star anise, bay leaves, coriander seeds, and fennel seeds} over the 4 hour slow cooking process.

Red onion rarely appear in Chinese style red braised pork dishes. They are more popular with beef dishes. However, it plays an important role here to elevate the flavor and taste of the ham hock.

Fermented rose tofu curd is a secret ingredient for this recipe, which helps enhance the color and the flavor. It also appears in the delicious Shanghai Style Braised Squid {Bi Mu Da Kao 比目大考}.

Ingredients for Chinese Red Braised Ham Hock

How to make Chinese Style Red Braised Ham Hock Perfectly?

The first is to sear or brown the ham hock

Turn the heat to medium and heat a wok for 1 minute. Add a bit of oil, using a mini silicone spatula to spread out evenly across the wok, and then add ginger and green onion.

Add ham hock to the wok, gently press down and cook for 1 minute. Repeat for all other three sides, until all four sides are seared and browned.

Sear/Brown Ham Hock for Chinese Braised Ham Hock
Sear/Brown Ham Hock for Chinese Braised Ham Hock

The second is to coat Ham Hock with caramelized sugar for Red Braised Ham Hock

Turn the heat to medium and add unrefined cane sugar into the wok, cook until it melt into amber syrup, about 2 minutes.

Coat the Ham Hock with the burnt sugar.

The Third is to pour soy sauce over

Slowly pour the naturally aged soy sauce all over the ham hock, including sides.

Pour Soy Sauce over Ham Hock for Chinese Braised Ham Hock

The Fourth is to simmer Ham Hock in spiced braising liquid

Remove Ham Hock from the wok. Add 4 cups of boiling water into the wok, along with Shaoxing wine, green onion, red onion, star anise, bay leaves, fennel seeds powder, coriander seeds powder and fermented rose tofu curd. Bring it to a boil.

Spiced Braising Liquid for Chinese Red Braised Ham Hock

Turn the heat to simmer. Carefully slide the Ham Hock into the wok, sprinkle the ham hock with turbinado sugar, cover it with a lid and simmer for 4 hours.

Braising Chinese Red Braised Ham Hock

After each hour, uncover the lid, move the ham hock around to ensure it is not sticking to the bottom of the wok and baste for 15 seconds. If you can manage to turn and flip the ham hock inside the wok, it would be even better.

The Fifth is to turn the heat to medium-high and cook for 15 minutes

Following 4 hours of simmering, turn the heat to medium-high and cook for 15 minutes to thicken the juice. Move the ham hock around so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the wok, and baste from time to time.

Freshly cooked Braised Ham Hock in the Wok

All done! Remove the Ham Hock from the wok and let it cool to room temperature before cutting into slices to serve. Save the juice in the wok as the dipping sauce or flavoring broth to cook another vegetable dish or noodles.

Freshly cooked Chinese Braised Ham Hock
Freshly cooked Chinese Braised Ham Hock
Red Braised Ham Hock {Chinese Style}

Red Braised Ham Hock {Hong Men Zhou Zi 红焖肘子} Recipe

Yield: 12 servings
Cook Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes

Chinese Style Red Braised Ham Hock {Hong Men Zhou Zi 红焖肘子} is such a traditional well-liked Huai Yang style food. It features soft juicy dark reddish brown pork skin with extremely yummy meat.

Ingredients

  • 1 Ham Hock, about 8-10 lbs.

For Browning and Coloring:

  • 2 stalks of green onion chopped
  • 1 small piece of ginger, about 12 g, thin sliced
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar, organic unrefined
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce, naturally aged or dark

For the Braising:

  • 3 cups of boiling water
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/2 cup Shaoxing wine
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar, also known as "sugar in the raw"
  • 3 star anises
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds powder, freshly ground
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds powder, freshly ground
  • 1 pc fermented rose tofu curd

Instructions

Preparation and Browning the Ham Hock:

  1. Gather all ingredients. Cut red onion vertically into thin slices.
    Ingredients for Chinese Red Braised Ham Hock
  2. Grind the fennel seeds and coriander seeds using a spice grinder.
    Grind fennel seeds for Chai Spice Mix
  3. Add everything under "For the Braising" except for boiling water and red onion into a bowl, and mix well. Break down the rose fermented tofu curd if needed.
  4. Turn the heat to medium, heat the wok for 1 minute. Add 1 tsp canola oil along with thin sliced ginger and half of the chopped green onions, stir for about 5 seconds.
  5. Carefully add the Ham Hock to the wok, gently press down and cook for 1 minute.
    Sear/Brown Ham Hock for Chinese Braised Ham Hock
  6. Repeat for all other three sides, until all four sides are seared and browned.
  7. Remove the Ham Hock from the wok including all the ginger and green onion, place on a plate and set aside.
  8. Wash and dry the wok.

Coloring the Ham Hock:

  1. Turn the heat to medium, add 1/4 cup cane sugar into wok, and cook until melt into amber syrup, about 2 minutes. Turn the the heat to simmer.
    Unrefined cane sugar in the wok for braised ham hock
    Burnt sugar for Braised Ham Hock
  2. Add the Ham Hock to the wok, Gently move the ham hock until it is coated with the burnt sugar.
  3. Slowly pour the soy sauce all over the Ham Hock, including all sides
    Pour Soy Sauce over Ham Hock for Chinese Braised Ham Hock
  4. Remove the Ham Hock from the wok, place onto the plate and set aside.

Braising the Ham Hock:

  1. Add 3 cups of boiling water to the wok, along with the red onion slices, the remaining green onions, and sauce from the bowl prepare earlier.
    Spiced Braising Liquid for Chinese Red Braised Ham Hock
  2. Mix well using a mini whisk. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring it to a boil, about 1 -2 minutes.
  3. Turn the heat to simmer, carefully slide the Ham Hock into wok, sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the exposed ham part. You don't have to use all the sugar up at this point. You can add more later.
  4. Cover the wok with a lid and cook for 4 hours total.
    Braising Chinese Red Braised Ham Hock
  5. After each one hour, uncover the lid, move the ham hock around to ensure it is not sticking to the bottom of the wok and baste for about 15 seconds. If you can manage to turn and flip the ham hock inside the wok, it would be even better.
  6. Sprinkle the remaining turbinado sugar, if any left, over the exposed ham part, cover the lid and continue to simmer.
    Freshly cooked Braised Ham Hock in the Wok
  7. Following 4 hours of simmering, turn the heat to medium-high and cook for 10 minutes to thicken the juice. Move the ham hock around so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the wok, and baste from time to time.
  8. All done! Remove the Ham Hock from the wok and let it cool to room temperature before cutting into slices to serve. 
    Red Braised Ham Hock {Hong Men Zhou Zi Chinese Style}

Notes

  • Save the juice in the wok as the dipping sauce or flavoring broth to cook another vegetable dish or noodles.
  • Make this in advance and enjoy throughout the week. Add to a bowl of noodle soup or make a sandwich out of it.
  • They are freezer friendly too. Store in a freezer ziplock bag in small batches and use in the next 3 months.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 servings Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 818Total Fat: 44gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 27gCholesterol: 292mgSodium: 849mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 0gSugar: 9gProtein: 85g

Nutrition calculation is provided by Nutritionix to the best knowledge per ingredients description and isn't always accurate.

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