The richly flavored red braises characteristic of Chinese cooking make warming winter meals that can be adapted to a slow cooker. Typically, seasonings of anise, cinnamon and ginger distinguish these dishes. Pork shoulder becomes meltingly tender during the slow braise. Serve over noodles or brown rice, with stir-fried napa cabbage.

Patsy Jamieson


Recipe Summary

3 hrs 45 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Place carrots and turnips in the bottom and up the sides of a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Top with pork and scallion whites. Bring broth, water, soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, ginger, vinegar, chile-garlic sauce to taste and garlic to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour over the pork and vegetables. Nestle star anise pod (or aniseed) and cinnamon stick into the stew. Cover and cook until the pork and vegetables are tender, 3 to 3 1/2 hours on high or 5 1/2 to 6 hours on low.

  • Discard the star anise pod and cinnamon stick. Skim or blot any visible fat from the surface of the stew. Add the cornstarch mixture, cover and cook on high, stirring 2 or 3 times, until slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve sprinkled with scallion greens and sesame seeds.


Ingredient Notes: Sherry is a type of fortified wine originally from southern Spain. Don't use the “cooking sherry” sold in many supermarkets--it can be surprisingly high in sodium. Instead, purchase medium or dry sherry that's sold with other fortified wines in your wine or liquor store.

Star anise (named for its star-shaped pods) lends a distinctive licorice-like flavor to numerous Asian dishes. The pods come from a small evergreen tree that is native to China. Look for star anise in the bulk spice sections of natural-foods stores, in Asian markets or online at

Sesame seeds can be purchased already toasted. If you can't find them, toast your own in a small dry skillet over low heat, stirring constantly, until golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes.

For easy cleanup, try a slow-cooker liner. These heat-resistant, disposable liners fit neatly inside the insert and help prevent food from sticking to the bottom and sides of your slow cooker.

People with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity should use soy sauces that are labeled "gluten-free," as soy sauce may contain wheat or other gluten-containing sweeteners and flavors.

Nutrition Facts

321 calories; protein 26.2g 52% DV; carbohydrates 14.3g 5% DV; dietary fiber 2.4g 10% DV; sugars 6.6g; fat 16.9g 26% DV; saturated fat 6.2g 31% DV; cholesterol 92.2mg 31% DV; vitamin a iu 6951IU 139% DV; vitamin c 14.1mg 24% DV; folate 25.3mcg 6% DV; calcium 67mg 7% DV; iron 2.5mg 14% DV; magnesium 40.3mg 14% DV; potassium 629.3mg 18% DV; sodium 670.6mg 27% DV; thiamin 0.5mg 53% DV; added sugar 3g.

Reviews (16)

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16 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 8
  • 4 star values: 5
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 2
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 4 stars
Tasty and not too time consuming The prep was a little more than I anticipated but it was worth the effort. The pork and sauce had a definite Asian flavor and a nice little kick. Wa served it over rice noodles and it balanced out nicely. Pros: Not the usual crockpot fare Cons: Lots of chopping Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I was very happy how this came out. I couldn't find star anise so I used a t of chinese five spice powder instead. I really liked the flavor. I put some egg noodles in the crockpot near the end and I thought they went nicely with it. The only thing I didn't like was the broth was pretty fatty I tried skimming the fat but you can only do so much with that. I think next time I make this I will use a leaner meat like chicken breast. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
A Few Ingredient Alternatives There recipe was good except there are a few additions you could make to make it more traditional meaning more ethnic. Instead of turnips use daikon. Instead of sherry use Mirin (a traditional asian cooking wine slightly sweet) and instead of corn starch use Kuzu (Kudzu) root starch which is Japanese and much better for you than regular corn starch. You could also char the ginger a little to give it a little more flavor. Other wise the recipe is great basic starting point for a chinese dish. I served it with rice noodles but any thin chinese style noodle would be great. Pros: easy flavorful Cons: not traditional Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Yum-eeeeeeeee!!!! Read all the comments below; added daichan and substituted Mirin for the sherry. Made this for our friend's birthday and she absolutely LOVED it!! Smells so fragrant while cooking! Also added rice noodles bean sprouts (at the end) and a squeeze of lime after serving. Getting ready to make it again tonight!!!! Pros: Easy delish filling Read More
Rating: 5 stars
This was very flavorful. I had most of the ingredients on hand but not the star of anise or the cinnamon stick. So I started the dish without those spices but was able to add them later in the cooking process (about hour 4 on low heat). I tasted the dish before and after the addition of those spices and I believe they make a huge impact on the flavor of this dish. I added some napa cabage at the end as well so as not to have it go to waste in my fridge. I served it over mung bean vermacelli. Very enjoyable. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Amazing- tastes like pho! This dish tastes very much like pho (the delicious Vietnamese soup) when served over noodles. I ladled it over udon noodles and added a bag of mung bean sprouts (maybe 6 oz bag) to the slow cooker just long enough to heat them through. I served this with some typical pho accompaniments: I garnished with the scallions added a squeeze of fresh lime to each bowl then served with sriracha on the side to allow each person to add spicy/heat to taste. Do not omit the star is a key flavor in this dish and would be really flat with out it. To address another reviewer's complaint if you trim the pork really well this dish isn't greasy at all. Pros: Easy delicious Cons: None Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Delicious! I didn't have the scallions or sesame seeds but even without this was still wonderful. You can definitely taste the anise seed so if you're not a fan of that flavor then reduce the amount it asks for. My kids said it had a little too much heat for them so next time I'll reduce the chili sauce but all that aside I loved it. I served it over rice which was great next time I'll try noodles and see how that goes. Read More
Rating: 2 stars
just o.k. It was just so-so. I love Asian food and cook frequently with these ingredients but I am surprised nobody has commented on how oily/greasy this dish was? I trimmed my pork and even strained the liquid through a fat separator but still found it a bit greasy. I used one turnip and one daikon - the pork was nice and tender but it didn't knock my socks off. Pros: fairly easy Cons: greasy Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Wonderful Recipe This was a really wonderful dish! Neither my boyfriend nor I like turnips so I subsituted Yukon gold potatoes and it worked out beautifully. I also left out the anise. The recommendation to serve over stir fried Napa cabbage was an excellent one as it added a little more color and crunch. I will definitely make this again! Read More