"This popular cold starter, also known as white-cut pork, is perfect for entertaining or any family meal," says Tony Tan. "The technique is used throughout China, but the dish doesn't appear on restaurant menus because it's considered too plebeian. Traditionally, the meat is poached in water (although some cooks use chicken stock) until it's just cooked, then sliced and served with a dipping sauce. I've used thick-end belly pork, but chicken and lamb work equally well. This is best made a day in advance to allow the meat to firm up before it's thinly sliced. Here I serve it with a Sichuan dipping sauce."
This recipe from Hong Kong Food City by Tony Tan (Murdoch Books, $49.99) has been reproduced with minor GT style changes.
- 500 gm lean pork belly, skin on
- 2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
- 10 gm piece ginger, crushed
- 2 tbsp chopped spring onion or coriander
Garlic and chilli sauce
- 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
- 1 spring onion, finely chopped
- 1 long red or green chilli, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp Sichuan dark soy sauce or regular dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp clear rice vinegar, or to taste
- ¼ tsp ground Sichuan peppercorns
- 2 tsp chilli oil, or to taste
- 1Place pork in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, then drain and rinse pork and pan. Return pork to the pan, add Shaoxing rice wine and ginger, season with salt, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a bare simmer and cook until pork is just tender (20-30 minutes; to test, insert a knife into the thickest part – if the juices run clear, it's cooked). Turn off the heat and leave the pork to steep for 15 minutes.
- 2Remove the pork from the poaching liquid (reserve for another use), cool completely, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to firm up.
- 3For the garlic and chilli sauce, mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
- 4To serve, slice rind off the pork, then slice pork across the grain into paper-thin slices, arrange on a serving plate, pour a little sauce over and scatter with spring onion or coriander.
To make Sichuan dark soy sauce, simmer 500ml soy sauce, 100gm brown or rock sugar, 1 star anise, 1 small piece cinnamon bark, 1 piece liquorice and 1 black cardamom pod simmer until reduced by a third. Cool, then strain. Store in the refrigerator.