Updated: Jul 25
For this dish I wanted the main focus to be how to create a crispy pork skin. The secret to a super crispy skin is all in the cooking temperature. This recipe does not actually take too long to finish with a great end result. As for the pork I kept to a traditional cantonese style roast belly pork with a simple fresh chilli oil to go with it. Let's cook!
whole belly pork slab (500g - 750g with a good meat to fat ratio)
4 tbsp Chinese five spice
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp cracked black pepper
white vinegar (for brushing)
salt (for brushing
oil (for brushing)
4 tbsp chilli flakes
4 tbsp chilli powder
1 tbsp salt
2 star anise
1 tsp szechuan peppercorns (optional)
1 spring onion
2 tbsp black rice vinegar
150 ml rapeseed oil (or vegetable oil)
Start with the pork, begin by patting the pork belly dry with kitchen paper. Next turn the pork upside down and cut slices half way through the meat as shown above. Now prepare a dry rub for the pork. In a bowl add 4 tbsp Chinese 5 spice, 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp paprika, 1 tbsp onion powder, 1 tbsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp salt and 1 tbsp cracked black pepper. Mix the dry rub well then coat the flesh side of the pork all over with the rub taking care not to add any on the skin.
2. When the pork is fully emerged in the rub transfer the pork onto tinfoil making sure to incase in the foil by folding over the flesh keeping the skin visible (see below). Then lightly brush the skin with vinegar and then add a generous amount of salt over the skin.
3. Now we want to focus on drying out the skin. To do this add the pork to an oven and roast on low at 100 degrees centigrade for 1 hour 15 minutes until the skin releases all the moisture. This phase is essential as we want a super dry skin.
4. Whilst we are waiting for the pork to dry out we can make a quick chilli oil. In a bowl add 4 tbsp chilli flakes and 4 tbsp chilli powder, mix then set aside. Then in a pan add 150ml of oil then add the star anise, Szechuan peppercorns and spring onions and fry for around 5 minutes on a medium heat.
5. Next remove the spring onions and star anise and turn the heat up to high. When the oil reaches 180 degrees centigrade turn off the heat then add all of the dry chillis and chilli powder. Add a splash of black vinegar to cut through the oil and allow to cool and season with salt. Take care when adding the vinegar as the oil will quickly foam up. Allow the chill oil to cool then place into a jar. (This chilli oil can be kept for a few weeks when made).
6. Now the pork belly is ready for the second phase of cooking, the pork skin should now be dry and a little crispy already. Remove from the oven and brush lightly with oil. then turn the heat up high to around 200 - 220 degrees centigrade and cook for a further 40 minutes. This phase is where the skin will start to lift and bubble up.
7. After 40 minutes remove the pork from the oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes before slicing. You need to let the pork rest as it will capture all the moisture inside of the meat.
8. After the pork has had time to rest we can now serve, slice the pork into bite sized pieces and place the chilli oil into a small bowl. This dish goes perfectly with some fresh boiled rice and some pan fried tenderstem broccoli. Enjoy...
If you wanted to, instead of wrapping the pork in tin foil you could roast the pork in a pan of chicken stock and various vegetables to make the meat super moist. This may affect how crispy the skin gets, however but by braising it you end up with a sauce flavoured with whatever vegetables you decide to braise with. Have fun making this recipe!