Pork belly is my favourite cut of meat. While chicken thighs are a close second, there isn’t anything quite like a piece of pork belly that’s been braised in a sweet and spicy sauce and flavoured with tons of aromatics until the meat is fork tender and the skin is gelatinous and sticky with all of its umami yumminess. Here, I have made the simplest version of this dish using all of the ingredients that are quite essential and really, that’s all we really need to make a banger of a dish. That said, we can always add in peppers, mange-tout, green beans, roasted peanuts, sesame, sliced chillis, golden fried garlic, julienned ginger, bok choy and/or so on and so forth along with the onions and the herbs and elevate this dish even further. Serve immediately over hot steamed rice and unwind with a meal that is truly comforting and incredibly delicious.
Ingredients (serves 2-3)
For the sweet and spicy braising liquid
- 4-6 dried red chillis; alternatively, feel free to use 2-3 fresh red chillis or chilli flakes to taste
- 1/2 cup of water
- 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp of dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp of fish sauce
- 1 tbsp of brown sugar; you may need another tsp of sugar to taste
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- 1 square-inch piece of ginger
For the pork and the rest
- 500 grams of pork belly with the skin, sliced into 1.5 x 1 inches pieces; don’t cut them too small as pork belly shrinks quite a bit once cooked
- 4 cups of water (about 1 litre)
- 1/4 tsp of salt + about 2 tsp for salt the boiling water
- 1 tbsp of oil
- 1 brown onion, roughly diced; 2 if you really like onions 🙂
- Spring onions, finely sliced; as much or as little as you want
- Coriander leaves, sliced; as much or as little as you want
- Firstly, blend all of the ingredients listed under sweet and spicy braising liquid until smooth and set aside.
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil and add 2 tsp of salt.
- Add in the pieces of pork belly and boil for 8-10 minutes ensuring that the pieces are no longer pink.
- Discard the water and all of the foam/ scum floating on top and rinse the pork belly ensuring the pieces are clean and free of any gunk; this step ensures that any impurity/gunk/ blood is removed and the pork tastes and smells fresh and delicious.
- Place the pork belly over paper towels to dry and set aside.
- Place a pan or a wok over high heat and add in a tablespoon of oil.
- Once the oil is hot, add in the pork belly and stir in the salt.
- Leaving them undisturbed for 3-4 minutes or so, let them brown slightly on both sides.
- Pour in the braising liquid and bring it to a boil.
- Now reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for about 30- 40 minutes or until the pork is fork tender; stir carefully every 10 minutes or so (check every 3-4 minutes towards the end as much of the liquid evaporates to ensure nothing burns) and add small splashes of hot water if needed. Alternatively, once the pork is fork tender, increase the heat and reduce the braising liquid until you are left with about 2-3 tbsp of the braising liquid.
- Once reduced, taste the sauce/liquid very carefully and add in a bit of sugar/ honey, a splash of vinegar or a pinch of salt if needed.
- Add in the onions, coriander and the spring onions and sauté for a couple of minutes until the onions are crisp and yet, cooked through.
- Serve immediately over steamed rice, fried rice or noodles and enjoy.