I’m a massive fan of pork belly. It’s such a versatile meat, as well as being full of flavour, easy to cook and cheap.
One of my favourite dishes ever is crispy pork belly pad thai from Try Thai in Manchester, which is what gave me the inspiration to think outside the box a bit more and try some recipes including pork belly that didn’t just involve roasting it and making crackling.
This turned out really well – it’s quite a low effort dish and could just as easily be made in the slow cooker as long as you removed the meat and reduced the sauce at the end.
I particularly enjoyed the accompaniment of pickled chilli, which cut through the richness of the pork.
- 2½ kg pork belly, rind removed, cut into 5cm pieces
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 200ml Shaohsing rice wine
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- thumb-sized piece ginger, cut into matchsticks
- pinch of chilli flakes
- 100ml Chinese black vinegar (available from Waitrose)
- 140g soft brown sugar
- 700ml vegetable stock
- toasted sesame seeds
- sliced spring onions
- 2 red chillies, sliced and soaked in rice wine vinegar for 1 hr, then drained
- steamed white rice
- Toss the pork with the soy and 1 tbsp of the rice wine. Leave for 1 hr or, even better, overnight in the fridge.
- Heat some of the oil in a medium heavy-based saucepan. Brown the meat, in batches, on both sides and set aside. Add a little more oil and cook the garlic, ginger and chilli for 2-3 mins until golden.
- Pour the vinegar, remaining rice wine, sugar and stock into the pan and bring to the boil. Add the pork, then turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 2 hrs or until the meat is tender. For the final 30 mins, remove the lid, increase the heat and let the liquid reduce until thick and syrupy. Serve scattered with the sesame seeds, spring onions and sliced chillies, with rice.