Instant Pot Braised Pork with Tofu

Instant Pot Braised Pork with Tofu is indeed a tasty and modest home cooking variation of Chinese braised meat dishes. First, I seared the meat until brown in a frying pan with some oil. Then I prepared the sauce with light and dark soy sauces, Chinese rice wine, rock sugar, and water or broth. Followed by bring the sauce to a rolling boil. Subsequently, simmer on low heat until the meat soft and tender. Popular meat normally used for Chinese braises are chicken, beef, pork, lamb, and fish. We can also add other extra ingredients like hard boiled eggs, tofu, dried shiitake mushrooms, potatoes, and black fungus.

Many people would consider Chinese braised pork and tofu dish as the best one pot comfort food for home cooking. Traditionally, we add aromatics to braises to enrich the flavour of the dish. They include five spice powder, star anise, cloves, dried mandarin or orange peel. As well as cinnamon stick, dried bay leaves, black cardamom, fennel seeds, cassia bark, and licorice root. We can also add fermented bean paste, chilli bean sauce, dried chilli, ginger, garlic, sesame oil and spring onions.

For my gluten free Instant Pot Braised Pork and Tofu recipe, pork and pan fried tofu are my main ingredients. Cooked in a fragrant sauce made from gluten free kecap manis, medium dry sherry, garlic, cloves, star anise and cloves. This recipe is also low carb, dairy free, egg free, nut free, corn free and refined sugar free.

Instant Pot Braised Pork with Tofu

Instant Pot Braised Pork with Tofu

What is Pork Shoulder?

Many people regard pork shoulder as a budget cut of meat, either sold bone-in or boneless. It is from the pig’s shoulder area, slightly tougher and layered with fats. As a result, it is extremely suitable for long and slow cooking like roasting, stewing, and braising. Because of the lengthy cooking process, the meat is superbly tender, juicy and full of flavour. Many butchers often tag pork shoulder as pork butt (Boston butt).

Pork butt is not from the rear end of the pig despite its name. Similarly, pork shoulder and pork butt are cuts from the different ends of the shoulder region. Moreover, butchers or supermarket often sell primal cuts as fresh or cured large roasts.

Pork shoulder (picnic shoulder or picnic roast) is the cut from the area exactly above the pig front leg. It is thinner and triangular shaped and has less fats. Whereas pork butt is from the area right behind the head of the pig between its shoulder blades. It has even rectangular shape, thicker and more highly marbled with fats. Generally, pork shoulder is most suitable for braising, stewing and roasting with crackling. While pork butt is great for making pulled pork.

Instant Pot Braised Pork with Tofu

Nutritional Values and Health Benefits of Pork Shoulder

Pork shoulder is an excellent source of complete and high quality animal protein. In addition, it is a substantial source of the B group of vitamins. Including vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). It is also good source of vitamin B12. Furthermore, it is an excellent source of key minerals like selenium, zinc and phosphorus. In addition, pork shoulder has good amount of iron, copper, magnesium and potassium. It is also good source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Overall, the health benefits of pork shoulder may include:

  • Support and maintain healthy muscle mass;
  • Assist in regulating blood pressure;
  • Reduce risks of cardiovascular disease;
  • Support healthy central nervous system;
  • Help create and repair DNA;
  • Aid in the production of hormones;
  • Assist in the building of red blood cells;
  • Support healthy hair;
  • Help maintain healthy bones and teeth; and
  • Boost the body’s immune system.
Instant Pot Braised Pork with Tofu

Instant Pot Braised Pork with Tofu

Versatility of Tofu

Overall, there are many delicious ways to savour tofu. Likewise, we can eat tofu raw, pan-fried, deep-fried, grilled, simmered, stir-fried, steamed, boiled, stewed, braised, or baked. Furthermore, we can also stuff tofu with fillings, add to salads and serve as a dessert with fruits and syrups. Different cooking methods will transform its texture from soft and silky smooth to crispy and crunchy. Although tofu has a bland flavour, vegans used it to convert many standard dishes into delicious vegan meals and desserts.

I normally add tofu as a complement to other ingredients to absorb the flavours of the dish. Due to the increasing popularity of plant-based meat worldwide, chefs and home cooks are using tofu creatively. As a result, they use tofu to produce inventive and unique savoury dishes and indulgent sweet desserts.

Nutritional Values and Health Benefits of Tofu

Tofu is an exceptional source of plant-based complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, tofu provides your daily protein requirements, making it a perfect meat substitute. All in all, tofu is naturally gluten free, dairy free, low in calories and carbohydrates. Additionally, it has zero cholesterol or saturated fat. Depending on the type of coagulants used for manufacturing of tofu. Calcium sulfate (gypsum) or magnesium chloride (Nigari) combined with calcium chloride (nigari salts). As a result, tofu can be high in calcium and/or magnesium.

Furthermore, tofu has beneficial plant source of iron, manganese and phosphorous. It is a good source of iron, selenium, copper, and zinc. Lastly, tofu comprises natural plant compounds called soy isoflavones, which imitate the human hormone estrogen. And tofu made from soybeans are abundant in healthy polyunsaturated fats, particularly omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid.

Specifically, the health benefits of tofu may include:

  • Promote healthy bone development and maintenance;
  • Reduce risks of cardiovascular diseases;
  • Help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol level;
  • Lower risks of diabetes;
  • Maintain healthy central nervous system;
  • Decrease menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and osteoporosis;
  • Support healthy skin;
  • Reduce risks of breast, prostate and stomach cancer;
  • Assist in weight management; and
  • Help relieve some symptoms of endometriosis.

Braised Pork with Tofu Gluten Free
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5 from 1 vote

Instant Pot Braised Pork with Tofu

A tasty and modest home cooking variation of Chinese braised meat dishes made with pork shoulder and tofu cooked in an aromatic sauce.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Diet: Gluten Free, Low Fat
Keyword: Braised Pork, Braises, Braises, Corn Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Low Carb, Nut Free, Pork, Pork Stew, Refined Sugar Free
Servings: 6 persons
Calories: 618.81kcal
Author: Daphne Goh


  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves peeled and finely minced
  • 1.2 kg lean pork shoulder trimmed and cut into 1½ inch pieces
  • 2 medium star anise
  • 8 cloves
  • ½ cup water additional water for stove top cooking only
  • Steamed basmati rice or cauliflower rice to serve

For the Tofu:

For the Sauce:

For the Garnish:

  • 2 spring onions (scallions) thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon goji berries


For Pan-Frying the Tofu:

  • Heat up a non-stick frying pan with extra virgin olive oil.
  • Pan fry the tofu for 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown with firm skin. Set aside.

Method 1: Using an Instant Pot – Pressure Cooker function

  • Mix and combine all the ingredients for the sauce together in a bowl.
  • Add in extra virgin olive oil and all the other ingredients plus the sauce prepared in step 1. Stir and mix well.
  • Then add in the pan-fried tofu pieces on top of the pork.
  • Cover the instant pot and lock lid. Using the pressure cooker function, set cook time for 25 minutes.
  • Let the instant pot rest for another 10 minutes, slowly and carefully release pressure. Unlock lid.
  • Remove the tofu pieces and set aside in a medium bowl.
  • Plate the pork with tofu pieces on top. Garnish with spring onion (scallions) and goji berries.
  • Serve with steamed basmati rice or cauliflower rice.

Method 2: Using a Pot on Stove Top

  • Mix and combine all the ingredients for the sauce together in a bowl.
  • Heat up the pot with extra virgin olive oil and stir-fry the garlic on low heat until lightly golden.
  • Then add in all the pork pieces, star anise and cloves and stir-fry for 5 minutes on high to medium heat.
  • Add the sauce prepared earlier and stir-fry for another 5 minutes. Add additional ½ cup water and cover with lid and bring to the boil.
  • Simmer the pork for 1½ hours on low heat or until pork is soft and tender.
  • Remove all the pork pieces and set aside in a large bowl.
  • Then add the pan-fried tofu into the sauce and bring to the boil. Then simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. Remove the tofu pieces and set aside in a medium bowl.
  • Return the pork pieces to the sauce in the pot and bring to a boil again. Turn off the heat.
  • Plate the pork with tofu pieces on top. Garnish with spring onion (scallions) and goji berries.
  • Serve with steamed basmati rice or cauliflower rice.


Allergen: Soy.
Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Braised Pork with Tofu
Serving Size
1 person
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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2 thoughts on “Instant Pot Braised Pork with Tofu”

  1. Wow it looks very tasty! I just bought a new instant pot and looking for recipes to try. This is one of my favorites.


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