Caramelised Pork Belly with Asian Greens

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Overview

This dish is a tribute dish to the amazing Caramelised Pork Hock which was a signature (and favourite) dish at the now closed Longrain restaurant in Melbourne. We visited the restaurant many times, and this was always on our plates. Now we’re glad to be able to do this at home.

Time

Lots. Not taking into account the master stock, around 4-5 hours all up.

Ingredients

1kg Pork belly
Oriental Master Stock (link will come to this soon)
Star Anise x 5
3 x Cinnamon quills
250g natural palm sugar (sustainably sourced)
Rice
Greens
Chilli Vinegar

Equipment

You will need a deep frier, some large and deep pots for cooking in master stock and a few other normal kitchen odds and ends. Nothing too amazing or out of the ordinary.

Method

1 – Master Stock

First, create your Master Stock. You may find it useful to reuse this over and over again for many dishes. It is delicious. Keep the residual once used frozen and as it stores for a long time. It only gets richer each time it is used.

2 – Flash fry the pork belly.

Cut the belly into 2 even portions. No scoring of skin is required, however if this has already been done, no issue. Place these carefully in the deep frier which should be set to 180ºC. Flash fry these for around 2-3 minutes, sealing in the juicy porky goodness.

3 – Broil pork.

Add 3 star anise and 2 cinnamon quills to the master stock and add the pork belly. Poach pork belly in the master stock for around 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The house will really start to smell deliciously of the pork now.

4 – Rest the pork.

Once the pork has been broiled, the fat will have started to melt and will be nice and jelly like. Carefully remove the pork from the master stock and place skin side up in a lined backing tray. Gently pat dry the skin with some paper towel and cool uncovered in refrigerator for around 1-2 hours.

Set aside 1 cup or so of the master stock and allow the rest to cool, then put back into refrigerator / freezer for use another time.

5 – Caramel sauce.

(a) Take the palm sugar and add to a pot.
(b) Add enough water to get the sugar melting. (2-3 tbsp)
(c) Once the sugar syrup is boiling, lower the heat to it doesn’t go over the sides of your pot. Add the remaining star anise and cinnamon and add the cup of master stock which was set aside.
(d) Let the mixture reduce until honey-like in texture. Remove from heat and let rest.

6 – Rice

Cook up some white rice. We usually do ours in the thermomix which takes around 25 minutes. Set this going just before you begin the final pork step.

7 – Final pork fry

When sufficiently cold and around 30 minutes before you wish to eat, take pork from fridge and cut into pieces around 2.5cm x 2.5cm square on skin side (1 inch x 1 inch is fine). Place these in the deep frier at 180ºC and cook for around 5-6 minutes (until golden brown). Remove from deep frier and place in holding tray in oven preheated to 150ºC. Around 4 batches will be required.

8 – Asian greens

Create a light asian green stirfry with some broccolini, buk-choy. capsicum, snow peas, baby corn, fennel and beanshoots. A little master stock can tie the flavours of the dish together nicely. Should only be enough time to warm the vegetables through.

9 – Serve

Once all the pork is ready and the rice is good to go, assemble all dishes. Place the caramel sauce into a jug and place on table.

When serving, the pork may also have some crushed crispy garlic chips added and the final dish must have the palm caramel sauce liberally splashed over the pork, followed by chilli vinegar to offset the sweetness of the caramel.

If you’re not salivating by now, there is something seriously amiss.

Enjoy