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Thursday
Nov182010

Chinese crisp-roasted pork belly with soy and ginger dressing, steamed pak choi and rice

WOWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! This was good.

On Monday I promised to share the recipe for the crispy pork belly that went down so well with the smoky eggplant and chilli relish. Those of you who read that post might be surprised that the relish is not included in the title. My dinner guest, Katy, may beg to differ (she was rather taken by the relish), but I think the recipe has enough going for it as a standalone dish. Of course the relish made it all the more special, but it would have been pretty damn fine without it. 

The recipe for the pork is another from Stephanie Alexander’s trusty tome, The Cook’s Companion. I had made crispy roast pork belly in the past, but was looking for an Asian twist. Alexander’s method is much the same as my own, except that she boils the pork belly for two minutes before marinating and salting it.  I am not sure why this helps, but it seems to work wonders for the crackling, which was the crispiest I have ever achieved. As my colleague Thomasin said when I told her about it, “If I'm going to eat fatty pork (which is one of life's greatest pleasures), I want a nice crisp skin on it.” Agreed. 

For once my extremely hot oven was a blessing, since the pork is cooked at a very high temperature. I didn’t think it needed the full hour though; it was starting to look done after 45 minutes. The crackling could probably have been even crispier in parts, but I like my pork only just cooked through. The result was perfectly moist, tender meat with silky ribbons of meltingly soft fat and crispy skin. Yum!

It seems I was onto a good thing with the pak choi and rice because Alexander makes a similar serving suggestion. She also recommends serving the dish “warm or at room temperature as an entree with a dish of hoisin sauce for dipping”. This got me thinking about a potential canapé for my parents’ Christmas eve party: thick fingers of the pork with a range of dipping options: smoky eggplant relish, grilled Chiang Mai relish, soy and ginger dressing and a Thai-style nam pla dressing. (We are not very traditional in my household).

Serves four as a main course with some pork leftover for later seconds.

Stephanie Alexander’s Chinese crisp-roasted pork

Ingredients

1 x 1kg piece fresh belly pork, boned but not skinned
2 x cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
3 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon five-spice powder

Method

Ask your butcher to score pork skin at 1 cm intervals, or do it yourself using a very sharp knife and cutting right through the skin. Blanch meat in a large saucepan of boiling water for 2 minutes, then lift out, rinse under cold water and dry well with kitchen paper. Combine garlic and soy sauce and rub all over meat side of pork. Combine salt and five-spice powder and rub all over skin. Refrigerate uncovered, skin side up, for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 230C and line a baking dish with foil. Position a rack in baking dish and settle pork on rack, skin-side up. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 200C and bake for 40 minutes or until skin crackles and crisps.

My soy and ginger dressing

Ingredients

1 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
½ tsp garlic, finely chopped
½ red chilli, finely sliced and seeds removed
3 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

Method

Put all the ingredients in a jar, screw the lid on and shake. Easy!

For the rice

Bring 200g (1 cup) Jasmine rice and 2 cups water to a rolling boil over a high heat then turn the heat down to low, cover with a lid and cook for 20 minutes or until all the water has absorbed. Remove from the heat, uncover pan and let steam escape for a few minutes before fluffing with a fork. Alternatively, follow the instructions on your packet for microwave rice. 

For the pak choi

You will need 400g pak choi. Separate the leaves of the pak choi, rinse with cold water and steam for 2 minutes or until the thickest part is just tender.

To serve

The pork should rest for 5 to 10 minutes before being cut into thick slices.

Pack the rice into four ramekins or small bowls and turn out onto each plate. Arrange a couple of pork slices on each mound of rice and drizzle with the dressing (there should be some pork leftover).

Distribute the pak choi evenly between the four plates. 

Serve immediately.

To further quote my colleague, “Pork belly is one of the things that makes life worth living.” Fact.

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Reader Comments (14)

Yum, yum, yum and yum! Can't wait to cook this!

November 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

Hi Vic,
Thank you coming to blog and your lovely comment.
I am so glad to see this post of Chinese roast pork, looks so delicious and I also made this last weekend.
I would like to link you to my blogroll.

Have a great weekend

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteranncoo

Sorry a bit slow off the mark here, but I am said guest above, and can vouch that the pork was amazing. I am generally a pork belly fan anyway, but I've never had it done in an Asian style: it really works. As Vicky says, either as a standalone or with the aubergine relish. A really intriguing combination, and as ever, executed effortlessly and to be honest you can't get a dish much closer to perfection.

November 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaty J

Glad to hear you agree that it could work without the relish too, wasn't expecting that! High praise indeed.

November 28, 2010 | Registered CommenterVix

Love the blog, thanks for the great recipes! Margie

December 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermargie

Hi Vicky
Love your food adventures! I have downloaded them all and look forward to trying them on Jess & co at Xmas. Especially like the belly pork.

December 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

Auntie Susie, long time! I hope you will send me your citron tart recipe? It is still the best I have ever had. I am sure everyone would be very grateful for it and I will, of course, give you due credit. Lots of love.

December 14, 2010 | Registered CommenterVix

WOW! This is absolutely delicious! Thumbs UP!!

December 19, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteranncoo

I cooked this crispy pork belly with soy and ginger dressing for dinner on Saturday night.I don't usually dare to cook something for the first time when having friends round, but this was so easy , thanks to your fantastic explanations. But one thing I need to point out to you - since as you know , unlike the clever chefs in our family, I tend to follow recipes absolutely to the letter. I assembled all the ingredients , and followed instructions. At the end I wondered what I was supposed to have done with the five spice powder . Should it have gone into the marinade along with the garlic and soy sauce? If so , it's not clear.
Anyway it was absolutely delicious , and so was the chilli relish which I also cooked, see separate post

February 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMa

Thanks for drawing my attention to this. I think I must have missed something when I copied Stephanie's recipe; the five spice and salt are supposed to be rubbed on the skin and the garlic and soy on the meat side. I have just updated the post.

FYI - Here is the post Ma refers to.

February 7, 2011 | Registered CommenterVix

This tasted FANTASTIC when Al cooked it on saturday night. If i may be so bold, I think her's looked even better than your photo...thats becuase her crackling probably cooked a bit more fiercly than yours and as a consequence was darker and crispier. especially enjoyed teh ginger and soy dressing...full of flavour but very light. Great dish!!

February 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSara

Thanks Sara. Glad you especially liked my dressing, I came up with it originally as an oyster dressing (for fresh and tempura oysters) and now tend to make it more frequently as a dressing for Asian style salads and pork dishes. I imagine it would go well on fish too.

February 8, 2011 | Registered CommenterVix

I had another go at the crispy pork belly - I actually added the five spice to marinade , then plastered it all over the skin and the meat .... it was delicious - and reasonably crispy.However , I intend to have a go next time at sticking to the original - sly and five spice on the skin , and the "wet' marinade on the meat. I'll report back

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMa

Hi Ma - I'm glad it worked well for you. I know that the general rule is that the drier the skin the crispier it gets. Dad dries his out in the fridge or on the bench just to be sure.

February 10, 2012 | Registered CommenterVix

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