Happy Roast Pork Belly Day!
Okay, so it’s actually Valentine’s Day, but c’moooooon. Roast Pork Belly Day is about as arbitrary, right?
Besides, Valentine’s Day is completely wasted on me. I’m not into getting flowers (they die… and I can buy my own), or chocolates (I only really like plain dark chocolate… and I can buy my own), or jewellery (I don’t like gold or diamonds… and I can buy my own).
You can deduce a couple of things from that.
1: I don’t like receiving gifts. (Though I appreciate the thought and all.)
2: I’m terribly unromantic.
But pork belly? I’m always happy to receive pork belly.
Though.. ahh… I can make my own… Maybe if I give out pork belly? Yes, I like that idea much more!
Pork belly is one of those dishes that people are so impressed by, but it’s actually super easy. I like to do mine the Chinese way. First I score the skin – I like horizontal cuts rather than a diamond pattern because it makes it easier to cut when cooked. Then I scald the skin with boiling water, before sitting the flesh in a marinade. The skin is left uncovered and it goes into the fridge overnight to dry out.
The next day the skin gets dried further with paper towels, a bit of salt is sprinkled on, and in it goes into the oven. After a couple of hours: crispy skin and juicy flesh. Too easy.
The crackling part is easy too. Crackling needs two things: dry skin and heat. That’s why salt is good (it helps draw moisture out) and drying the skin with paper towels before it goes into the oven is also useful. I’ve made pork belly with either a quick blast of high heat just as it goes into the oven, and a blast of high heat at the end, and I prefer doing the heat at the end. But either works to be honest. If the skin is dry and the heat is high, crackling will be nigh. (Sorry, that was terrible.)
So tell me – do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? And if not: would you like to celebrate Roast Pork Belly Day with me? <3
- 1kg pork belly
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 cube fermented red beancurd (leave this out if you don’t have it)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- Salt for sprinkling
- Score the skin with a sharp knife with horizontal lines about 1.5cm apart, making sure that you don’t cut right down to the meat.
- Put the pork belly in the skin and pour just boiled water over the skin to scald it.
- Pat the skin dry with paper towels and set aside while you make the marinade.
- Combine all the marinade ingredients together – I like to use a stick blender.
- Put the marinade in the bottom a shallow dish that’s large enough to hold the pork belly and sit the flesh into the marinade. Keep the skin clear of any marinade. Place it into the fridge, uncovered, overnight to dry out.
- The following day, bring the pork out and allow to warm up to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 150°C.
- Set the pork on a wire rack over a roasting tray. Pat the skin dry again with paper towels and sprinkle salt over it.
- Roast for about 2 hours or until tender.
- Increase the oven temperature to max and roast for another 15 minutes.
- The skin should puff up into crackling, but if it’s not working, try patting the skin dry again with paper towels, sprinkling on more salt, or popping it under a hot grill (watch it in case it burns).
- Remove pork from oven and allow to rest, uncovered, in a warm place for 15 minutes.
- To serve, cut into 1 cm thick slices.