Braised Pork with Ginger and Star Anise

serves 4

Active time: 25 minutes – Start to finish: 1hr 15min

This recipe is from Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Fast and Slow. This was really, really really good. I served with jasmine rice and then wok’d baby bok choy with roasted peanut oil and fresh ginger.

note: this recipe is for a 6-quart Instant Pot.


  • 2 TBL grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 4 medium shallots, halved and thinly sliced
  • ground white pepper
  • 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, 1 tsp finely grated, the remainder cut into 3 pieces and smashed
  • 8 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 3 TBL packed brown sugar
  • cup lowsodium soy sauce this is key, must be low-sodium!
  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 TBL cornstarch
  • Roughly chopped fresh cilantro, to serve
  • serve with jasmine rice along with a steamed vegetable, such as baby bok choy


  • To Start
    • On a 6-quart Instant Pot, select Normal/Medium Sauté
    • Add the oil and heat until shimmering
    • Add the shallots and ½ tsp white pepper, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are golden brown, about 5 minutes
    • Add the smashed ginger, garlic, star anise and sugar, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds
    • Pour in the soy sauce and ⅓ cup water, scraping up any browned bits
    • Add the pork, stir to combine, then distribute in an even layer
  • Press Cancel, lock the lid of your Instant Pot in place and move the pressure valve to Sealing (my model auto-seals).
  • Select Pressure Cook or Manual; make sure the pressure level is set to High.
  • Set the cooking time for 25 minutes
  • When pressure cooking is complete, let the pressure to reduce naturally for 15 minutes, then release the remaining steam by moving the pressure valve to Venting (my model has a steam release button)
  • Press Cancel, then carefully open the pot.
  • To Finish
    • Using a large spoon, skim off and discard the fat from the surface of the cooking liquid, then remove and discard the star anise and ginger (I couldn’t find the ginger so I let it be)
    • In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with ¼ cup of the cooking liquid until combined, then stir into the pot
    • Select More/High Sauté and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring constantly, then cook, stirring, until lightly thickened, about 1 minute
    • Press Cancel to turn off the pot, then stir in the grated ginger
    • Taste and season with white pepper IMO it didn’t need any
    • Serve sprinkled with cilantro
Recommended products
Here’s a link for ordering Milk Street Fast and Slow on Amazon. I gave the book a complete read through the day it arrived. Christopher does a fantastic job at explaining all the tricks to using an Instant Pot that I have yet to read anywhere else.
I purchased the Instant Pot Duo Plus from Amazon in early December 2020. With all the cooking I’m doing now, I was looking for ways to create yummy meals that didn’t require as much supervision so that I could chill more in the evenings.
The brand of roasted peanut oil that I had been using forever, stopped production during COVID. I discovered this brand on Amazon; it has a five star rating from over 900 consumers.
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