Wednesday, December 28, 2011

6 hour Sticky Tamarind, Soy & Honey Glazed Pork Belly

This sticky tangy pork belly was delicious with moreish salads. It was cooked so long that most of the fat was rendered away to leave the flavoursome layers of meat. Cooking the skin in the BBQ gives the meat a smokey edge, however you can also do that in your oven.

1 slab pork belly the size of your roasting tin (I used half a normal butchers 'slab') approx 1.5 kg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup salt

2 thumbs ginger sliced thickly (3mm)
4 cloves garlic sliced thickly (3mm)
4 star anise
1 tsp Szechwan pepper - whole
2 tbsp Tamarind paste
2 tbsp Honey
150ml Kecap Manis – Indonesian sweet thick soy

1 tsp chinese five spice
300ml shao xing (Chinese cooking wine)
Chicken stock to cover the slab - approx 6-8 cups.

Rub pork with salt and sugar cure and leave overnight in fridge.
The next day wipe with kitchen paper, you dont need to remove all the cure. Drain liquid.

Place Garlic, Ginger, Star Anise and Szechwan in roasting tray and place pork belly on top.
Mix all other ingredients in a bowl (apart from the honey and stock) till combined then pour over the belly. Top up with chicken stock to cover.

Place in the oven covered in foil at 110 degrees C for 6 hours. When you can pass a skewer through the belly with ease, it is ready. Let cool in liquid then strain liquid into a saucepan and add honey. Reduce it until a nice coating consistency is achieved. (This may take up to 30 minutes to reduce). The sauce is ready, place it in a jar in the fridge.

Place Pork in fridge overnight with a chopping board on top, weighted down with cans.
The next day, score the skin of the pork belly into small squares - but dont cut all the way through to the meat otherwise it will dry out. Bake the pork belly in the oven or BBQ (lid closed) at 230-250 degrees C to crisp the skin and render the last bits of fat while producing a smoky flavoursome meat.
Finally, slice through the already scored meat to produce individual square portions of belly.
You can slice these even thinner in 1cm width slices for a more delicate platter or addition to a salad.

NB: when we had our end of year BBQ and I made this recipe Dan seared the pork skin side down and it got quite burnt. The flavour was great in the meat but the skin was inedible. It was a good lesson to see what would happen, and was my choice. I think the marinade caused the skin to burn because dry pork skin is fatty enough to be cooked directly on a BBQ plate. In any case, I have done some research since and the oven bake or BBQ-bake method here seems to work best, as it also warms the meat up without it drying out.

Serve with the warmed honey sauce. Sweetness offsets this salty meat.
Salads go well too.

End with a cider. Pear.

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