I trawled the net and all my recipe books looking for a suitable pork belly recipe, but none of them were really doing it for me. As a result I came up with my own, and was pretty happy with the results. The tender meat, and crispy skin were a highlight, as was the sauce. It was really intense, a real punch in the face, full of all the flavour I was hoping for. The only difficulty was crisping up the skin once the pork had been braised - at first I tried the oven, then the griller, then the blowtorch, and also in a pan. I didn't quite get the crispy skin I was after, but it came out quite well. It was a dark brown colour, however wasn't burnt at all, and was kind of crunchy, and chewy at the same time, almost like the scorched top of a creme brulee!
I had already bought pork belly sliced into 2-3cm pieces before I decided to make this - I think next time I will go for one whole piece to make the crisping up process a bit easier.
My twice cooked chinese pork belly
Preheat oven to 150 deg celsius.
Rub 2 tsp of chinese five-spice powder and 2 tsp of salt onto the pork belly. Set aside.
Place a dutch oven, or heavy based casserole dish on low heat on the cooktop, and add the following ingredients:
4 cups of chicken stock (use the real stuff, or at least a salt reduced version)
1/3 cup low salt soy sauce
1 cup Shao Hsing chinese cooking wine
4 crushed garlic cloves
2cm ginger, roughly chopped
4 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
2 tsp whole coriander seeds
2 tsp finely grated palm sugar
4 green cardamom pods
1 red chilli, finely sliced
1 tsp mustard seeds
4 spring onions, roughly chopped
1 tsp whole black pepper
1 tsp schezuan pepper (whole)
Bring to the boil, and carefully add the pork belly. Place a sheet of baking paper on top, place the lid on, and pop in the oven and cook on low for approximately three hours. Pork is ready when you can easily stick a fork into it.
At this stage I removed the pork onto a plate, and placed approx 3 cups of the braising liquid into a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 cup of water, and reduce at a simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning, and add more water and reduce further if the sauce is too rich. When you are happy, add approx 1tsp honey (or to taste) and simmer for another few minutes.
Place the pork on a baking tray skin side up, and place under a medium grill until the skin reaches the desired level of crispiness! I served the pork covered in the reduced sauce, along with stir-fried pak-choy and garlic, and brown rice.
And these are the prawn toasts we had for entree -
And of course - dessert! .... A coconut custard.....