Saturday, June 20, 2009

Roast pork belly with five spice rub

Serves 4

As much as I'm bursting to tell about the last 6 days in Hong Kong (I'm 4 hours off the plane as we speak) thought I ought to get the ball rolling with this little number seeing as I've been off line for all that time. When you shop for your pork, ask your butcher to score the skin of the pork for you - it is his job, not the cook's. This hatching of narrow lines through the skin not only helps the crackling to crisp nicely but makes carving a little easier. There is no gravy or even pan juices with this, so the oyster sauce greens are essential, but the crispy edged pork dipped in a tiny bit of mustard will make up for any lack of side distractions. So much more to come, so many old favourites and new discoveries to write about... once the jetlag's worn off...!

1.75kg pork belly, bones left in, scored

For the spice rub
3 juicy cloves garlic
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tblsp sea salt flakes
2 tsp five spice powder

For the greens
4 handfuls purple-sprouting broccoli, bok choi or mustard greens
1 tblsp groundnut oil
2 tblsp oyster sauce
steamed rice to serve

Wipe the meat with a piece of kitchen paper to remove any moisture. Dry skinned pork cooks crisper than wet. Peel the garlic, then pound it, together with the peppercorns, salt and five-spice powder, using a pestle and mortar.

Lay the pork, skin-side down, in a stainless steel or glass dish, and then rub the spice mixture into the flesh. Cover and leave in a cool place for four hours.

Set the oven at 220°c/gas mark 7. Put the pork, skin-side up, into a roasting tin. Leave in the oven for 30 minutes, then turn the heat down to 180°c/gas mark 4 and continue roasting for a further 50 to 60 minutes.

Test the meat for tenderness with a knife and check the juices that emerge. They should be clear and pale with no trace of blood. If they are not, then let the meat roast a little longer. If the fat isn't quite as crisp as you would like it, move the meat to the top shelf of the oven for a further 15 minutes.

Lift the pork from the tin and leave it to rest on a chopping board for 10 to 15 minutes. Put the greens into boiling water and cook for three or four minutes until tender but still crisp to the bite, then drain them, leaving one tablespoon of water behind in the pan. Put the oil and oyster sauce in the greens pan and bring to the boil. Tip in the greens; turn off the heat, then cover the pan with a lid while you carve the pork.

Cut the pork along the bones. I find one large bone plus a bit of extra meat enough for most people.


  1. The photo looks like another meal for one! Hope things are good for you will touch base with you next week...Cheers

  2. Hey Pappa!! That was lunch a couple of days ago, and thankfuly I had someone helping me eat it... otherwise i'd be leaving the restaurant on a stretcher!!