Pork belly will never go out of fashion - and when it's braised slowly the skin becomes gelatinous and the meat juicy and rich. A sweet sauce with a hit of chilli makes the perfect partner.
- 1.5 kg piece of pork belly, skin on
- 250 ml (1 cup) kecap manis
- 60 ml (¼ cup) each rice wine vinegar and fish sauce
- 3 dried long red chillies
- 1 star anise
- ½ tsp white peppercorns, coarsely crushed
- 50 gm finely grated fresh coconut
- 30 gm shrimp paste
- 7 long red chillies, coarsely chopped
- 3 small golden shallots, coarsely chopped
- 7 gm ginger, coarsely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp roasted chilli flakes
- 100 ml peanut oil
- 20 gm dark palm sugar, coarsely chopped
Fried shallots and eggplant
- 300 ml vegetable oil
- 6 red shallots, shaved on a mandolin
- 2 baby eggplant, thinly sliced diagonally
- 1Preheat oven to 150C. Place pork in a casserole or roasting pan skin-side up. Combine kecap manis, vinegar, fish sauce, chilli, star anise and peppercorns in a saucepan with 40ml water, bring to the simmer over medium-high heat, then pour mixture over pork belly, cover with a lid or foil and braise in oven until meat pulls apart easily (3½ hours). Remove lid and cook, basting regularly, until glazed (30 minutes). Remove from oven and set aside.
- 2Meanwhile, for sambal, process ingredients except peanut oil and sugar in a small food processor until smooth, then transfer to a small saucepan, add oil and stir occasionally until toasted and fragrant (5-7 minutes). Add sugar and stir until melted and caramelised (3-5 minutes), then set aside.
- 3For fried shallots and eggplant, heat oil in a saucepan or wok over medium heat and cook shallots and eggplant separately in batches, turning constantly, until golden and crisp, (1-2 minutes). Drain on paper towels, then combine in a bowl.
- 4Remove pork from braising liquid and set aside. Skim fat from the top of the liquid, transfer liquid to a small saucepan and bring to the simmer over medium-high heat (continue cooking to reduce further if you prefer a thicker sauce).
- 5Cut pork into 6 pieces and serve drizzled with a little braising liquid, and scatter with fried shallots and eggplant, and sambal to taste.
Drink Suggestion: A spicy, floral grenache. Drink suggestion by Max Allen