I came across a post on Facebook the other day that really spoke to me.
“My life is a constant battle between my love for food and not wanting to be fat”
I have a confession to make. I haven’t worked out in a month. *SHOCK! HORROR!* No seriously, I really need to get my ass back on the cross trainer. I was so good with my routine up till a month ago. My knee started to hurt a little so I took that excuse and I ran with it. Pun totally intended ;) Wait, am I doing this right? Anyway, it’s a miracle I haven’t ballooned considering the way I’ve been eating. I mean, look at this Roast Pork Belly!!
How do you say no to that?? I know I can’t. Crispy skin crackling and juicy fatty flesh is a combination hard to beat. And being chinese, the way my mind works is Fat = Yumz. 1.35 billion people can’t be wrong, right? You know this dish is awesome when it’s got so many names in so many dialects and languages, and I’m just naming the four I know.
This classic chinese roast is a favourite of mine growing up. It still is. But growing up, I took it for granted and always assumed it would be there whenever I wanted it. I never considered the possibility of being married abroad, where pork belly is almost exclusively made into bacon. I craved for it. I craved for it baaaad. I tried so many recipes that promised top results only to be thrown into the pits of disappointment again and again. Mind you, they were complicated recipes too. Then I found this recipe, the perfect recipe. It is dead easy and it is foolproof. The only problem I have with the dish is my over-eating. I haven’t figured out how to store leftovers so that the skin stays crispy, so my solution is to eat it all. *Om nom nom nom nom*
The trick to this dish is in the cleaning of the skin. I don’t know how it is where you are but when I do manage to get a slab of pork belly, there is always quite a bit of hair still left in the skin. You need a sharp and sturdy knife and you want to scrape the skin with it, against the hair growth. Do this enough and not only do you remove yucky hair, you break down the top layer of the skin just enough to allow the salt to penetrate it evenly. Oh, and the skin has to be very dry. VERY.
Alright, time to get back on the cross-trainer……tomorrow….
Crispy Roast Pork Belly 烧肉
- 1.2 kg pork belly
- 1 Tbs salt
- 2 Tbs white vinegar
- 1 cube nam yee (red fermented beancurd)
- 1 tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp five-spice powder
- ¼ tsp white pepper
- 1 Tbs rice wine
- Rinse pork belly and pat very dry.
- Hold a sharp and sturdy knife at 90 degrees to the skin. Drag the knife across the skin, going against the hair growth. Scrape away all remaining hair while being careful not to cut into the meat.
- Brush off all hair and dirt with a paper towel. Using the tip of your knife, prick the skin all over. You want pin pricks, not slits. I suppose you could use a pin but I’ve never tried.
- Flip the pork belly over skin side down and score the meat a little with a sharp knife. Rub in the marinade.
- Flip it once more so it’s skin side up and place it on a rack. Give the skin one last wipe with a paper towel to remove any last bit of moisture and/or marinade and rub salt into the skin.
- Place a plate/tray under the rack and leave the meat uncovered in the fridge to dry out overnight. Make sure you have a plate/tray under the meat to catch the liquids. There will be liquids.
- Take the meat out of the fridge an hour before roasting to bring it to room temperature.
- Remove excess salt from skin and pat skin dry.
- Place meat on a roasting rack and roast for 20 mins at 200°C with the fan on. Have a drip tray under the rack to catch the fat drippings.
- After 20 mins, remove meat from oven and brush the vinegar onto the skin. Change oven settings to grill and return meat to oven for 20 mins then repeat twice more or until skin is crackled and meat is cooked..
- When skin is crackled and almost charred (about 1 hour 20 mins) remove meat from oven and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before CHOPPING to serve. Chop, don’t slice.