I like things that are an everyday occurence. It gives me a sense of familiarity. Everyday coffee, everyday napping, everyday touching.
Deep fried pork belly is definitely not an everyday dish. Perhaps the salad is, but it is definitely not as fun when it’s ridin’ solo.
The combination of pork and apple is a no-brainer, but you can also replace the apple for pear or nashi if you were after a sweeter crunch.
I also substituted the pork belly in the recipe for firm tofu for my vegetarian friends, and it was only slightly less delicious than the pork version. Mmmmmm, salty, crunchy puffs of tofuuuuuuuu. Once you make that substitute, the dish easily becomes a vegan flavour explosion!
Twice-cooked Five Spice Pork Belly
800g pork belly, skin removed
80mL light soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons Five Spice powder
Pinch of salt flakes
1 cup tapioca starch
Oil for deep frying
Fried shallots, spring onions and fresh chilli to serve.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Combine masterstock and soy in a large oven-proof dish. Add pork belly and cover with foil. Cook for 1-1 1/2 hours, occasionally topping up masterstock with water to ensure the meat does not dry out.
Remove from the oven and allow to chill completely in the refrigerator before cutting into bite sized pieces.
When cut, drizzle pieces with more light soy and drain excess before dusting with the combined mixture of Five Spice, salt and tapioca starch, dusting off the excess.
Deep fry in oil at 175ºC for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
Drain on paper towel, and while still hot, sprinkle with extra salt flakes, fried shallots, spring onions and sliced fresh chilli. Serve doused in chilli caramel and with mung bean vermicelli and apple salad.
Serves 4 for pork belly recipe, with excess.
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup water
2-5 small red chillies, chopped
8 star anise
50ml fish sauce
50ml light soy sauce
Boil the water and sugar in a saucepan until it starts to caramelise.
Add the remaining ingredients and let simmer for a further 5 minutes.
Mung Bean Vermicelli and Apple Salad
Serves 4 as a side.
2 bunches of Mung Bean Vermicelli, soaked in hot water and drained
1/2 cup mint leaves
1/2 cup coriander leaves
1/2 cup Vietnamese mint leaves
1 cup fresh bean shoots
1/2 cup cabbage leaves, shredded
1/2 cup red cabbage leaves, shredded
1/2 green apple, sliced into matchsticks (can be substituted for pear or nashi)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
5 tablespoons fish sauce
5 tablespoons lime juice
5 tablespoons rice vinegar
2-3 red chillies, sliced finely
2 teaspoons caster sugar
Combine all ingredients for Nuoc Cham in a bowl, and let steep. The longer you leave it, the stronger the flavour and more intense the chilli.
Combine remaining salad ingredients in a bowl and dress with Nuoc Cham just before serving to taste.