2-Day Meal Plan 3

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Melt-in-your-mouth pork belly perfection. An absolute favorite for all.

Calling all pork belly lovers, this meal plan is for YOU. I am SUPER excited about this meal plan because it’s my FAVORITE one yet (John’s too)!

In fact, I’m shocked I haven’t shared this gem until now. But hey, better late than never, right?

In this plan, we’re immersing ourselves in the rich flavors of pork belly with two incredibly delicious recipes: Twice Cooked Pork and Soy Sauce Braised Pork Belly. Even John’s dad, who used to be a Chinese chef, said these recipes are “Excellent”!

In Chinese culture where a “not bad” is the highest praise a child can get from their parents, an “excellent” rating is a BIG DEAL. I have obtained the highest praise I can ever hope to achieve as a daughter-in-law.

If you’re a seasoned meal prepper, click here to skip straight to the Meal Plan Menu. Otherwise, let’s go over a few key tips for success.

Choosing the Perfect Pork Belly

Choose skin-on pork belly. The skin gives an extra silky mouthfeel. Also look for cuts with a 2:1 ratio of meat to fat.

Make sure the fat and meat layers are evenly distributed (like the top 3 pieces). The more layers it has, the better. You don’t want it to be too fatty, but too lean of a cut will turn out tough and dry.

Pro tip:

If you end up with a fattier cut, don’t fret! You can always render the excess fat and use it to make your fried rice extra delicious or simply discard it.

Why Should I Cook Pork Belly Twice?

As the name Twice Cooked Pork suggests, cooking the pork belly twice is the secret to achieving that melt-in-your-mouth tenderness perfect for a stir-fry.

Trust me, this bit of extra effort makes all the difference.

Pre-cooking pork belly has other perks too:

  1. It helps remove excess fat, scum, and any “gamey” flavor.
  2. Cooking and chilling the pork belly gives the meat more structure; very handy when you’re trying to slice it very thinly into uniform pieces for stir-frying.
  3. Cooked pork belly slices don’t curl up in a searing hot wok!
  4. It reduces your stir-fry cook time. Sear it on one side, toss in some veggies, and you’re done!

Pro tip:

You can apply this trick to most pork belly recipes (braised or stir-fry) to achieve the above results!

How to Pre-cook Pork Belly

Simply add pork belly to the Instant Pot, fill with water until it covers 3/4 the thickness of the pork, toss in a few slices of ginger, then cook for 10 minutes on low pressure. Give it at least 10 minutes of natural release before quick releasing. Or let it release fully naturally.

I like to pre-cook the pork belly on a night when I’m relatively free. I set it, go about my night, then come back to it when I’m ready.

And here’s the best part – you can even cook it from frozen, perfect for those forgetful freezer moments! Once cooked, give the pork belly a quick rinse, pat it dry, and store it in the fridge (in an airtight container) for up to 4 days.

If using on the same day, soak cooked pork in cold water to cool it down to room temp quickly.

Can I use Shabu-Shabu Pork Slices Instead?

I’m not the recipe police, so do as your heart desires. Will it be delicious? Sure! But the result will not be the same. Try this twice-cooked method at least once if you can!

If you’re still not convinced or feel too intimidated by the process, read the next section and see how I keep my cooking workflow from becoming too overwhelming.

How to Prep for Success

The day before:

  1. Prep the soft-boiled eggs in the Instant Pot first. Peel and store in the fridge.
  2. Pre-cook the pork for BOTH recipes. Store in the fridge. (Do not slice until ready to use to prevent drying.)
  3. Chop veggies as you wait for pork to cook. Store in the fridge.

The day of:

  1. Slice pork.
  2. Mix sauces and spices.
  3. Cook and serve!

Easy as 1-2-3. Literally.

First time here?

Check out my Getting Started guide to learn how to use this meal plan.

Prep Summary

  • 1.5 lb broccoli floret blanched for 2 minutes
  • 7 clove garlic minced
  • 30 g ginger sliced, divided
  • 2 medium jalapeno sliced diagonally
  • 1 stalk scallion thinly sliced (optional)
  • 4 stalk scallion cut into 2-inch lengths, white and green parts separated
  • 0.5 small red bell pepper (optional) sliced
  • 0.5 cup stir-fry sauce prepared ahead

  • 0.75 lb broccoli floret blanched for 2 minutes
  • 5 clove garlic minced
  • 2 medium jalapeno sliced diagonally
  • 4 stalk scallion cut into 2-inch lengths, white and green parts separated
  • 0.5 small red bell pepper (optional) sliced
  • 0.25 cup stir-fry sauce prepared ahead
  • 0.75 lb broccoli floret blanched for 2 minutes
  • 2 clove garlic minced
  • 30 g ginger sliced, divided
  • 1 stalk scallion thinly sliced (optional)
  • 0.25 cup stir-fry sauce prepared ahead

Blanching vegetables serves 2 purposes: (1) It prevents loss of flavor, color, and texture—extending the “life” of the vegetable throughout the week, and (2) it gives us a head start in the cooking process for stir-fries. Stir-frying generally only takes 5 minutes. If you start from raw, some pieces won’t cook as evenly as others (especially hardy vegetables like broccoli). Blanching pre-cooks each piece of veggie so you will have a consistent tasting stir-fry every time. This is a well-known technique used in many Chinese restaurants!

Here’s how:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil (about 6 cups) and add 1 Tbsp kosher salt. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl on the side.
  2. Blanch vegetables for the time indicated on the recipe/prep summary. The countdown starts when the water comes back to a boil, so don’t overcrowd! Once done, immediately transfer the vegetables with a sieve to the ice bath for a few minutes to stop the cooking process.
  3. When vegetables have cooled, drain well and transfer to a storage container or Ziploc bag. Use a salad spinner to remove excess water for leafy greens or use clean hands to squeeze out remaining water.
  4. You can repeat this process with all the vegetables using the same pot of water. Bring water back to a rolling boil before starting a new batch. Replenish ice to ice bath as needed to keep water cold.

Chopped Aromatics

Store in an air-tight container in the fridge to keep maximum freshness. Use them within 7-10 days. If you suspect it has gone bad – the color has changed (e.g. turns brown), there is visible mold, the texture is mushy – toss them. Always err on the side of caution to avoid food poisoning.

Chopped Veggies

Store in meal prep containers or in the bags they come with in the crisper drawer. If a vegetable has a high-water content and tends to go limp quick, wrap it with a paper towel before storing it in the fridge. The paper towel absorbs excess liquid that will prevent it from wilting or turning mushy.

Meat and Seafood

As a general guideline, vacuum seal seafood if you won’t be using it within 2 days of purchase. For this reason, I always place recipes with seafood earlier in the Meal Plan Menu. For meat, vacuum seal if you won’t be using them within 4-5 days of purchase or the product’s “best by” date. Vacuum seal ASAP to keep maximum freshness. Vacuum sealed meat and seafood keep for over a week without any issues. However, if you know you won’t be able to use it within the week, date them and pop them in the freezer for later use. They are good for up to 6 months before their flavor and texture start to lessen.

If you do not have a vacuum sealer, wrap fish and meat tightly with saran wrap, then wrap tightly with aluminum foil. Store in a Ziploc bag, squeezing as much air out as possible. Date them and pop them in the freezer for later use.

Use different cutting boards for your proteins and veggies. Always wash and disinfect knives when switching from meat to veggies to prevent cross-contamination. It goes without saying that you should clean your produce before consumption and preparation.

During prep, always start with food cooked at the lowest temperature first, working your way up. For example, chopped scallions are often used as garnish and will be consumed raw, so chop them before potatoes (which you will cook so the risk is lower). Likewise, you would prepare salad greens first.  

The same principle applies when keeping them in the fridge. Don’t stack raw chicken above fish – any juices from the chicken that trickle into the fish would pose a risk. Should the chicken be contaminated with salmonella, the time and temperature at which you would cook fish to perfection is not enough to kill the bacteria.  

Meal 1

A plate of stir-fried pork belly with julienned red bell pepper and chopped green onions on a marble backdrop

As you’re prepping this dish, I recommend pre-cooking tomorrow’s meal at the same time then storing it for future use. See above sections Why Should I Cook Pork Belly Twice? and How to Prep for Success for more details. Don’t forget to prep the broccoli stir-fry (recipe follows)!

Pro tip:

Feel free to omit the bell pepper altogether from your Twice Cooked Pork if you don’t like dealing with leftovers. Otherwise, you can add the remaining half to your broccoli stir-fry. (I’ll be honest, I added it mostly for color and presentation, as well as to sneak in more veggies.)

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Twice Cooked Pork

Prep Time35 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb skin-on pork belly
  • 3 slices ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 4 stalks scallion cut into 2-inch lengths, white and green parts separated
  • 2 medium jalapeno sliced diagonally
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper optional, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp shaoxing wine
  • cooking oil as needed

Sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp la doubanjiang
  • 1.5 tsp soy sauce or to taste
  • 1 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 tsp sugar optional or to taste

Instructions

Pre-cook the pork:

  • The night before, add pork belly and ginger slices to Instant Pot. Add enough water to cover 3/4 of the pork’s thickness. Cook on low pressure for 10 minutes with a full natural release. If quick releasing, allow at least 10 minutes of natural release.
  • This step helps remove excess fat and makes the pork tender. Once done, discard the water and ginger. Run the pork under cold water to let it cool. Drain, pat dry and store in airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.

Making the dish:

  • Prepare the sauce in a small bowl and set aside. Slice the pork belly thinly. Heat up a wok over medium high heat until smoking. Add 1 Tbsp of oil and swirl to coat. Add in the pork belly and let it sear for 1-2 minutes until one side is crispy. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • Add the garlic and stir-fry for a few seconds until fragrant. Add in the red bell pepper (if using), jalapeno, and white part of the scallion. Stir-fry for 1 minute until slightly charred and tender. Add the pork back and deglaze the wok with 1 Tbsp shaoxing wine.
  • Pour in the sauce and stir-fry everything until well mixed and heated through. Toss in the green part of the scallions and do a quick stir right before serving. Serve immediately with steamed rice.

Notes

To pre-cook pork using stove-top:
In a pot of boiling water, add ginger slices and pork belly. Bring back to a boil then lower to simmer for 30 minutes. This helps remove excess fat and makes the pork tender. Once done, discard the water and ginger. Run the pork under cold water to let it cool. Drain and set aside.
A plate of broccoli stir-fry with garlic on top of a marble backdrop

Quick link to stir-fry sauce post: All-Purpose Stir-fry Sauce.

Pro tip:

Keep a stash of the stir-fry sauce in your fridge and use it for any stir-fries for up to 2 months!

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Broccoli Stir-fry

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time8 minutes
Total Time12 minutes
Servings: 4 (as a side)

Ingredients

  • 0.75 lb broccoli florets blanched for 2 minutes
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup stir-fry sauce prepared ahead
  • Cornstarch slurry 1 Tbsp water + 1/2 tsp cornstarch, set aside and use only if necessary
  • Oil for stir-frying

Instructions

  • Prepare the cornstarch slurry.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok over high heat. Add the minced garlic and stir-fry for about 30 seconds or until it begins to slightly brown.
  • Add the blanched broccoli to the wok along with the stir-fry sauce. Stir-fry for another 30 seconds, then cover the wok with a lid. Allow it to steam for 1-2 minutes until heated through.
  • If the liquid dries up too much, add 1 tablespoon of water midway. If there is too much liquid, add the cornstarch slurry and let it cook for 30 seconds until the sauce thickens.
  • Serve hot with steamed rice.

Notes

Feel free to adjust the thickness of the sauce using the cornstarch slurry according to your preference.
This dish makes a great side or can be paired with protein for a complete meal.

Meal 2

A photo of a claypot containing soy sauce braised pork belly with hardboiled eggs on top of a marble backdrop

This pork belly dish is perfection. Tender, savory, sweet, and melt-in-your-mouth. It’s one you’ll want to bookmark and come back too time and again. Don’t forget to pair this with the Broccoli stir-fry too!

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Soy Sauce Braised Pork Belly

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 13 minutes
Total Time1 hour 18 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb skin-on pork belly
  • 4 large eggs soft boiled
  • 6 cloves garlic smashed
  • 30 g ginger sliced, divided
  • 30 g rock sugar grounded*
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 stalk scallion thinly sliced (optional)
  • cooking oil

Seasoning:

  • 4 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 pieces star anise
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 30 g fried shallots

Instructions

Pre-cook the pork (optional, but see notes):

  • The night before, add pork belly and half of the ginger slices to Instant Pot. Add enough water to cover 3/4 of the pork’s thickness. Cook on low pressure for 10 minutes with a full natural release. If quick releasing, allow at least 10 minutes of natural release.
  • This step helps remove excess fat and makes the pork tender. Once done, discard the water and ginger. Run the pork under cold water to let it cool. Drain and set aside.

Soft boil the eggs:

  • Cook in the IP with 1 cup water on “low” for 2 minutes + Quick Release. Cool under running water, peel carefully, and set aside.

Put it all together:

  • After the pork has cooled, cut it into sizeable cubes, approximately 1.5×1.5 inches each.
  • Set your Instant Pot to the “Sauté” mode on the “High” or “More” setting. Once it’s heated up, add 2 tablespoons of oil. Add garlic and ginger. Sauté until the edges of the ingredients start to turn a light brown.
  • Reduce the sauté mode to “Low” or “Less” heat. Add the ground rock sugar and let it melt and gently caramelize. Be cautious and use a wooden or silicone spatula to avoid sticking as you add the cubed pork. Stir the pork until it’s thoroughly coated, making sure not to get any caramelized sugar on your spatula.
  • Next, include the water, soft-boiled eggs, and seasonings. Cover the Instant Pot, and set it to pressure cook on “High” for 8 minutes + 10 minutes Natural Release.
  • Set saute mode high and reduce sauce for another 5-10 minutes. if doing full 10 minutes, take the eggs out midway to prevent overcooking.

Notes

1. Rock sugar: If your sugar are smaller crystals (dice sized), you don’t need to grind them. They should dissolved just fine with the cook time.
2. You can prepare the pork ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the fridge (whole). Slice the day of cooking to prevent the pork from drying out.
3. You can opt out of pre-cooking the pork, and skip straight to the recipe. If so, add 8 more minutes to the cook time for a total of 16 minutes on “High”. Do note that the final dish will be greasier and the eggs will be much tougher and drier with this modification. Feel free to play around and see what suits your needs best.
To pre-cook pork using stove-top:
In a pot of boiling water, add ginger slices and pork belly. Bring back to a boil then lower to simmer for 30 minutes. This helps remove excess fat and makes the pork tender. Once done, discard the water and ginger. Run the pork under cold water to let it cool. Drain and set aside.

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Shopping List

ingredientquantityunitcategorynoteslist type
dark soy sauce2Tbspcondiments and spicespantry
hoisin sauce1tspcondiments and spicespantry
la doubanjiang1Tbspcondiments and spices(sichuan spicy bean paste)pantry
rock sugar30gcondiments and spicespantry
shaoxing wine1Tbspcondiments and spicespantry
soy sauce0.33cupcondiments and spicespantry
star anise2piececondiments and spicespantry
stir-fry sauce0.5cupotherhomemade with soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oilpantry
fried shallot30gcondiments and spicessubstitute raw shallot if you can’t find the fried onesshopping
egg4largedairy and misc. refrigerated itemsshopping
skin-on pork belly2.5lbmeat and seafoodshopping
broccoli floret1.5lbproduceshopping
garlic13cloveproduceshopping
ginger50gproduceabout 4-5 inchesshopping
jalapeno2mediumproduceshopping
scallion5stalkproduceshopping
red bell pepper0.5smallproduce(optional)shopping

Other 2-day Meal Plans

Hi, I’m Ariel 

I’m a foodie with a simple philosophy: why should amazing food be reserved for the weekends alone? I’m all about making every meal delicious because, let’s face it, we only have so many meals in our lifetime.

My mission? To take the stress out of cooking with easy-to-use meal plans so you can enjoy mouthwatering recipes any day of week. Join me on this tasty journey and let’s savor “more taste, less waste” in every bite!

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Hi, I’m Ariel 

I’m a foodie with a simple philosophy: why should amazing food be reserved for the weekends alone? I’m all about making every meal delicious because, let’s face it, we only have so many meals in our lifetime.

My mission? To take the stress out of cooking with easy-to-use meal plans so you can enjoy mouthwatering recipes any day of week. Join me on this tasty journey and let’s savor “more taste, less waste” in every bite!