- Let’s begin by preparing the pork belly, start by using a naked flame or blowtorch to remove any unwanted hair on the skin side of the pork belly. Next slice the slabs of pork into 2 inch thick long strips of pork then slice into 2 inch thick cube pieces of pork belly. We want the pork to hold some texture, therefore, slice fairly large pieces as the pork will shrink during the braising process. When all of the pork is cut place to one side.
3. The next step is to briefly blanch the pork, this step is optional, however, doing so will remove any unwanted impurities within the pork and will not effect the braise. Place a large pan full of water onto a high heat and bring up to a boil. Add all of the sliced pork belly and any of the saved trimmings from above then briefly blanch for 10-15 minutes until all of the impurities rise to the top of the water. Next, drain the pork from the hot water and place the pork to one side.
4. Now that the pork has been cleaned its time to sear and start to begin the braising process. Place a large pan onto a high heat then add a small drizzle of cooking oil. When hot add the pork belly in batches and sear on all sides until nice and golden brown. When all of the pork belly is golden, remove from the pan one last time and drain.
5. Now in the same pan that we seared the pork wipe clean with kitchen paper and turn the heat down to a medium heat. Add 50g of white sugar and leave on the heat. Cook the sugar for 4-6 minutes until the sugar dissolves to form a nice amber coloured caramel (Take care not to burn the caramel). When ready add the seared pork to the caramel and mix well to evenly coat the pork. Next add enough hot water to completely coat the pork then bring the liquid up to a boil.
6. When the liquid comes up to a boil turn down to a low simmer then its time to add the aromats from earlier. Add 20g of the sliced ginger, 5 roughly chopped spring onions, 10 dried red chillies, 4 peeled garlic cloves, 3 star anise, 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, 5g orange peel, 50mls light soy, 10mls dark soy and finally 40mls of chinese rice wine. Mix the braise well then place a lid over the braise and simmer for 1 hour 30 minutes.
Spring Onion Oil:
8. Now back to the braise, after 1 and a half hours of cooking the pork should be nice and soft and packed full of umami. Optionally remove any of the aromatics and turn the heat up to high. Begin to reduce the braise until it begins to thicken and cling onto the pork belly. We are looking for a deep red sauce that coats the pork almost like a weak glaze. When ready turn the heat off and we are now ready to serve…
To completely speed this recipe up then you could also use a pressure cooker to braise the pork belly. When choosing the pork belly it is best to choose a slab of pork belly with an even fat to meat ratio as too much fat may be too intense for this dish. Alternatively instead of a spring onion oil then a chilli oil would also work really well with this dish. Regardless of how you go about it I hope you like the recipe and peace as always!