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Chinese Braised Pork Knuckle in Black Bean Sauce

Chinese-influenced braised pork knuckle or shank based on a dish called “Ti Pang”, my version features black bean sauce & loads of aromatics.

This recipe takes a long old time, but you spend most of the 4+ hour cooking time chilling out and drinking in the wonderful aroma!

Chinese braised pork knuckle or shank served with steamed pak choi.

Chinese-Influenced Braised Pork Shank

I love cooking with pork knuckle, shank or hock, it’s a woefully underrated cut of pork that’s gloriously cheap and outrageously tasty.

My beer roasted pork knuckle remains a perennial favourite recipe on my site and the cured version of this cut features in my honey and mustard roasted ham hock and spring ham hock salad recipes.

Here it features in a recipe that is loosely based on a Chinese dish called “ti pang”. It’s pork knuckle braised in an outrageously tasty black bean broth.

Yes, it takes a while to cook, yes it is worth it!

Unusually for me this recipe serves four rather than two, don’t worry the leftovers can be used in everything from stir fries to Chinese-influenced soups.

If you want a super filthy good way to use up leftovers, make a sandwich with the pork, some of the skin and some crispy cucumber and lettuce. Then heat the leftover broth and serve it like a French dip sandwich, it’s almost worth it for this alone!

Shredded braised Chinese pork knuckle with rice and steamed pak choi.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are pork knuckle and pork shank the same thing?

Yes, they are different names for the same thing, you may also see them as pork hock. Do not confuse them with ham hocks, they are cured.

Can I use ham hock?

I will caveat this answer with a note that I have not tried to make this recipe with ham hock.

But, given that ham hock is cured and is quite salty I would advise against making this dish with them. I don’t even think a 24-hour soak would get rid of enough salt to make this edible when made with cured ham hock.

Can I crisp up the skin of these pork knuckles?

You can and you will have mixed results. Gelatinous skin is not all that common in Western cuisine, but it is prized in other cultures.

You can slip this in a fiercely hot oven or an air fryer for 20-30 minutes to crisp up the skin.

What is Chinkiang vinegar?

Chinkiang vinegar is black rice vinegar and it is delicious, it has a much more complex and rounder flavour than regular rice vinegar.

I love it and use it in a lot of my Chinese-influenced recipes, but if you can not find any then you can use any rice or rice wine vinegar.

Can I make this in advance?

Yes, this will sit in the fridge in the braising liquid for 2-3 days. Gently reheat in the liquid until it is hot all the way through.

Overhead Chinese braised pork knuckle or shank served with steamed pak choi and braising juices.

Serving Suggestions

I’ve served my Chinese braised pork shank with some simple slightly sticky jasmine rice and stir-fried pak choi in the images on this page.

Then I add loads of the braising juices as I eat the dish!

There are loads of other options that work really well with this recipe. On the veggie front, you could add something like my stir-fried broccoli or even asparagus stir fry.

You could stick with any plain rice with this dish, but it also works well with egg-fried rice.

Let’s not forget noodles! Everything from a plain chow mein to my cold soba noodle salad or even my yaki udon noodles would be wonderful.

I have two final suggestions before I let you get on and get this in your belly!

The fatty nature of pork knuckle makes this dish ideal to be served with pickles. Both my pickled daikon and pickled cucumber recipes are genius with this dish.

Overhead shredded braised Chinese pork knuckle with rice and steamed pak choi.

Equipment Used

I only name-check brands of equipment if I think they make a material difference to a recipe. But, if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Hob/Stovetop.
  • 24cm or 10″ saucepan.
  • Large wok.
  • Chopping board.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Small mixing bowl.
  • Kitchen tongs, slotted spoons, stirring spoons and a ladle.
  • A combination of weighing scales, measuring jug, cups and spoons.
Chinese-influenced braised pork knuckle or shank in black bean sauce.
Yield: 4 Servings

Chinese Black Bean Sauce Braised Pork Knuckle or Shank Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 40 minutes

A slowly braised pork knuckle or shank is a beautiful thing, this one is braised in a Chinese black bean broth and it turns one of the cheapest pieces of meat you can buy into a real treat!

Ingredients

  • 1-1.2kg (2.2-2.5lb) Bone in Pork Knuckle
  • 35g (thumb Sized Piece) Ginger
  • 6 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Spring Onions
  • 12 Whole Black Peppercorns
  • 1 Tsp Szechuan Peppercorns
  • 1 x 10cm (4") Piece of Cinnamon Bark
  • 2 Star Anise
  • Water as required
  • 75ml (⅓ Cup) Cooking Oil
  • 3 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 4 Tbsp Chinkiang Vinegar
  • 75ml (⅓ Cup) Black Bean Sauce
  • 4 Tbsp Dark Brown Sugar
  • ⅛ Tsp MSG (Optional)
  • 2-3 Tbsp Cornflour (Cornstarch)
  • 2-3 Tbsp Water

Instructions

  1. Cut the ginger into 2-3mm thick coin shapes.
  2. Peel the garlic cloves.
  3. Top and tail the spring onions.
  4. Place a large 24cm (10") saucepan on the hob and add the pork knuckle followed by the ginger, garlic, black pepper, Szechuan pepper, star anise, cinnamon and spring onions.
  5. Pour over enough water to cover the pork knuckle turn on the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, simmer for 5 minutes then remove from the heat. This will take approximately 25-30 minutes in total.
  6. Remove the pork from the blanching liquid and dry it thoroughly, then strain the aromatics from the water, set them aside and clean the pan, throwing away the cooking liquid.
  7. Heat a large wok over a high heat, and when it is hot add the cooking oil, carefully add the dried pork knuckle and colour all over using a spoon or ladle to splash the parts of the pork that will not touch the wok, this will take 5-10 minutes. Then remove the pork and drain off all but a scant coating of the oil.
  8. Return the wok to the heat, add the aromatics cooked in the initial blanching phase, and stir fry for 60 seconds.
  9. Pour in the soy sauce, chinkiang vinegar, black bean sauce, brown sugar and MSG and fry until everything begins to bubble.
  10. Pour in 1 litre of water, bring to a boil, then pour this mix back into the saucepan you initially blanched to pork in.
  11. Add the pork knuckle and then top up with as much boiling water as is needed to cover all but the tip of the pork knuckle, bring the cooking liquid to a very gentle simmer and cook for 2½-3 hours.
  12. Remove the pork from the braising liquid, set it aside and cover it with foil to rest.
  13. Turn the heat under the braising liquid up as high as it will go and reduce it by half to two-thirds. This will take around 15-20 minutes.
  14. When the braising liquid has reduced, strain it into a wok to get rid of the aromatics, and bring it back to a boil, then mix the cornflour with an equal volume of water and stir it into the sauce, stirring until it thickens. Return the pork to the cooking liquid and ladle over some sauce.
  15. Shred the pork and serve it with the thickened sauce.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 768Total Fat: 41gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 27gCholesterol: 231mgSodium: 1798mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 3gSugar: 12gProtein: 71g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

Lim

Saturday 14th of August 2021

Can I use already smoked ham hock for this recipe

Brian Jones

Thursday 19th of August 2021

Hi Lim... I have not tried it but my gut reaction is that it would be far too salty.

Natalie

Monday 5th of April 2021

My teenager just kissed me and thanked me for cooking this today. It's that good.

Brian Jones

Tuesday 6th of April 2021

I'm so glad you found this, it is one of the lesser-known dishes on my website but a real personal favourite.

Jacqueline Debono

Monday 24th of September 2018

This ham hock recipe looks absolutely scrumptious. I must confess I've never cooked a pork shank. Veal and lamb yes! Gotta to try pork!

Brian Jones

Wednesday 26th of September 2018

It is superb and really versatile, enjoy.

Natalie

Monday 24th of September 2018

WOW this ham looks perfect! Such a fancy dish for hosting or even for a romantic dinner - simply fabulous!

Brian Jones

Wednesday 26th of September 2018

It's really rather humble really and not fancy at all, although it is rather dramatic as a centerpiece.

Mary Bostow

Monday 24th of September 2018

This is a great idea for dinner. Yum Yum Yum! Cannot wait to try this! Love! Thank you for sharing this great recipe.

Brian Jones

Wednesday 26th of September 2018

Enjoy :)

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