Braised Ham in Honey Sauce

This enchanting delicacy made from world-renowned Jinhua Ham is a traditional dish in southeastern Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.

The story of its conception dates back to the year 1127 when the Jurchen troops invaded and overturned the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). Zhao Gou, younger brother of the last Northern Song emperor, established the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), and declared  Shangqiu, Henan Province, the new capital.

General Zong Ze, a Jinhua native of Zhejiang Province, determined to regain the lost territory, began to recruit soldiers. Later, Zong Ze returned to his hometown and was warmly welcomed by locals, who gave him a large quantity of pork from a certain breed of pig. It was recorded that this kind of pig with a snowwhite body and coal black head and tail, thin skin and tasty flesh could only be found in Jinhua. In order to solve the problem of how to preserve the meat on the long journey back to Henan Province, Zong Ze hit upon the idea of curing the pork in salt. When the shipments of pork eventually arrived at their destination, the meat had changed to a flaming red color and gave off an alluring aroma. The emperor tasted the cooked, fiery-red pork and praised it to the heavens. Thereafter, Jinhua Ham gained a good reputation among locals.

Braised Ham in Honey Sauce calls for a large portion of ham, a lot of time, and attention to detail. The honey coating mingled with the salty ham gives it a lingering after-taste.



500 g Jinhua Ham, 80 g crystal sugar, light broth, 70 g lard, 50 g lotus seeds, 50 g honey, 25 g pine nuts, 15 g starch, 3 g preserved osmanthus flowers


1.  Slice the ham, skin side down. Score the meat into small cubes, cutting about half way down into the fat;

2.  Put the meat in a bowl, skin side down. Add water to cover. Steam for two and a half hours. Remove the excess liquid.

3.  Add the crystal sugar and 500 ml light broth. Steam for one hour.

4.  Add the lotus seeds and steam for 30 minutes.

5.  Pre-heat a pan to a high temperature. Cook the lard until it is about half melted, add the pine nuts and stir-fry until golden. Remove from the pan and put aside.

6. Return the pan to a high heat. Add more broth and the honey, and bring to the boil. Make a mixture of starch, water, and sweet osmanthus flowers and pour over the braised ham. Sprinkle over the deep fried pine nuts and serve.