1. Let’s start off this recipe with the pork belly, ideally this is best done the night before cooking as this will give the skin chance to air dry that will create a crispy skin. There are tons of methods out there on how to make the “ultimate” crispy pork skin, however, the Classical Chinese is best. Start by placing a large deep pan full of water onto high heat. When boiling add approximately 1kg of deboned pork belly to the boiling water and boil for 2-3 minutes (this process will help tighten up the skin). After 2-3 minutes carefully remove the pork belly and rinse under cold running water to chill. Next, flip the pork belly skin side down then cut into the flesh side to create a cross score approximately 1/2 into the flesh. Now flip the pork belly over then using a few skewers or a special tenderising tool puncture the skin all over. Creating lots of small puncture holes in the skin is crucial as this will assist in making the skin evenly crispy.
2. Now that our pork belly is prepared we can begin to marinade and then dry. For the marinade in a small mixing bowl add 2 tbsp of chinese 5 spice, 1 tbsp garlic salt, 1 tbsp onion salt, 1 tbsp red pepper flakes or paprika, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp salt and 2 tbsp of white or brown sugar. Mix the seasoning well then add 1-2 tsp of cold water and mix again to form a paste. When ready season the flesh side only, getting in between all of the cross sections we sliced earlier.
3. Next place the pork skin side up onto a sheet of tinfoil then enclose the edges around the pork to create a parcel leaving the skin exposed. When wrapped nice and tight, place onto a tray then season the skin with some sea salt. Cover with a breathable fabric such as a kitchen towel or kitchen paper then place into the fridge and allow to air dry over night.
Duck Egg Noodles:
4. Moving onto the noodles, these egg noodles can also be made up the night before to save time or simply just use dried store brought if you prefer. If making them fresh I will cover the method by using a pasta machine, however, if you do not have a pasta machine then they can also be rolled out with a rolling pin then hand cut. Start by adding 500g of bread flour and 1 tsp of salt to a large mixing bowl and mix. Next in a separate pouring jug add 200g of whole duck egg (approx 3) and 60mls of cold water then whisk until smooth. Slowly add the egg mixture to the flour whilst constantly mixing with chopsticks. When all of the liquid has been added begin to kneed the dough by hand until a rough cohesive ball of dough is formed (10 mins approx). When ready cover with clingfilm and allow the dough to rest for 45 minutes.
5. After a good 45 minutes of resting the gluten within the dough should have become much more relaxed making it easy to roll. Kneed the dough again briefly for 5 minutes then cut and divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. To roll take one piece of dough then use a rolling pin to flatten into a rectangular piece of dough thick enough to feed through the largest setting of your pasta machine.
6. When ready pass the dough through the largest setting (atlas machine 0) then begin to work your way through the settings dusting the dough with cornflour if needed. On my pasta machine which is an atlas I went to number 5 which is 1.6mm in thickness. When ready dust the dough again with cornflour then finally feed through the pasta cutting mechanism or knife cut. When cut, dust again lightly then gather the noodles together and place into a container dusted lightly with cornflour. Repeat this for each piece of dough then cover with cling film and allow to rest in the refrigerator overnight or these are ready to use right away.
Roasting the pork belly:
7. Moving onto to roasting the pork, by this point if air dried the salt on the skin should have extracted some of the water within and the pork should be quite dry. Using kitchen paper wipe off any excess water that has risen to the top of the skin and pat dry. Next puncture small holes in the skin again then lightly brush the skin with rice vinegar and then a generous season of salt. Leave the pork in the parcel and roast in an oven set at 100°c for 1 hour. This low roasting temperature is important as this will again dry out the skin yet leaving the flesh incredibly moist.
8. After 1 hour of roasting the pork should have dried out even further and its at this point we want to turn up the heat and start to crisp up the skin. Remove the pork belly from the oven and turn the temperature up to between 190°c – 200°c. Puncture the skin of the pork belly one last time and finally brush lightly with cooking oil. Place into the oven when hot and roast for 40-50 minutes or until the skin becomes super crispy. When ready remove from the oven and allow to rest keeping all those roasting juices that have collected inside of the tinfoil parcel.
9. All that’s left to complete this bowl of noodles is to make up a few various sauces and to cook the noodles. As for the saucy element I wanted to go about this in a hot pot sort of fashion. I find this way of making up a raw sauce opposed to cooking one really keys in on all of the flavours. The idea here is to mix everything together in the serving bowl then fold in the cooked noodles. As there a lot of ingredients feel free to add various other sauces and ratios will also depend on personal preference, therefore, best to simply measure all of the ingredients then each serving can be tailored to however someones prefers their sauce. For a good base to play with prepare and separate 3 tbsp of sesame seeds, a hand full of toasted crushed cashew nuts, 3 minced garlic cloves, 5 tbsp sesame oil, 4 tbsp light soy, as much chilli oil as you prefer (optional recipe link here) and a bunch of finely sliced spring onions. The most important sauce to bring everything together is the peanut sauce. To make this simply add approximately 2-3 tbsp of sesame oil to a saucepan then add 4-5 tbsp of smooth peanut butter. Cook the peanut butter until it becomes slightly darker and smooth then when ready place along with the other sauces. Now all the sauces are ready we can move onto finishing off the dish.
10. Now back to the crispy pork, using a large cleaver place the pork belly skin side down onto a chopping board and cut into bite sized pieces. Pour the roasting juices into a small bowl also as we can cheekily add this when we mix up our sauces! For the duck egg noodles, place a saucepan full of water onto a high heat. When boiling add the egg noodles and cook for 60 seconds or until cooked. Remove the noodles and drain well then in the same saucepan add a few stems of sliced pak choi and blanch until cooked. When ready we can now make up the sauces and finish the bowls!
11. To make up the bowls, add a mix of the sauces in each bowl that we prepared earlier. You can add which ever ratio of each sauce you prefer, however, I find a decent amount of peanut sauce, chilli oil and a touch of light soy creates a good base. I personally like to add 2 tbsp of the peanut sauce, 1 tbsp light soy, 2 tbsp chilli oil, a pinch of diced garlic, 1 tsp black rice vinegar, 1 tbsp of toasted sesame seeds, 1 tbsp sesame oil, a pinch of sliced spring onion and finally 1 tbsp of the roasting juices saved earlier. Add the cooked noodles to the sauce and mix everything together and we are ready to serve.
12. To finish, add some blanched pack choi onto the mixed noodles then scatter some crispy pork belly over the top. Finish the bowl off with some crushed toasted cashews, sliced spring onion and an extra drizzle of chilli oil! Im sure when you try out this bowl of noodles you will be hooked! Hope you enjoy this recipe and I know you will love it!
This is one of those dishes that is fairly simple to make, however, when you focus on the fine details such as the stages of making the crispy pork, fresh egg noodles and a good balance of flavours within the sauce the dish transforms into something special. Saying that this whole process can be sped up by buying dried noodles or skipping on drying the pork overnight. The trade off of-cause won’t be as good as taking your time, therefore, I will leave that up to you. If you wanted to make this dish lighter then you could replace the pork belly for tofu which I think would also taste great. Have fun and as always peace!