Crisp roast pork belly


Roast Pork.jpg

Roasted pork, or siu yuk, is one of the most recognisable Asian foods the world over. We’ve all passed a Chinese restaurant and drooled at the glistening, burnished roasted cuts hanging from meat hooks in the window, ready to be weighed and consumed. Making your own roast pork at home isn’t that hard - the trick is to make sure the pork skin is well and truly dry, which helps it to crisp and blister in the oven.

1.2 kg (2 lb 10 oz) piece boneless pork belly, skin on
1 tablespoon shaoxing rice wine
35g (11⁄4 oz/1⁄4 cup) sea salt
1⁄2 teaspoon five-spice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
hoisin sauce, to serve

Place the pork belly on a chopping board, skin side down. Make two long, deep cuts (about 2 cm/3⁄4 inch deep) into the meat across the width (this will help the flavours to absorb). Rub the rice wine all over the pork meat, but not the skin. Combine 1 teaspoon of the sea salt and the five-spice, then sprinkle it evenly over the pork, again making sure not to get any on the skin. Put the pork, skin side up, on a plate and rub the remaining sea salt over the skin. Place the pork in the fridge, uncovered, overnight. This helps the skin to dry out and crisp up when cooked.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Wipe off the excess salt, then place the pork on a baking tray, skin side up, and bring back to room temperature. Rub the oil all over the pork. Using a skewer, pierce the skin all over. Place the pork in the oven and roast for 45 minutes. 

Turn the oven grill (broiler) on, then place the pork under the hot grill and cook for 5–6 minutes, or until the skin is crisp (cooking time will depend on how close to the grill the pork is sitting), keeping a close eye on it, as it burns quickly. Remove to a chopping board, rest for 10 minutes, then slice and serve with hoisin sauce and steamed Asian greens.

The Real Food of China
By Leanne Kitchen, Antony Suvalko