Braised Pork Belly
This stuff is so good. It is slightly sweet, salty and spicy. It is perfectly served over rice and also works well over mashed cauliflower as the photos shown above. I have served it alongside French scrambled eggs for breakfast with zucchini fritters on the side.
2 lbs. pork belly, sliced into four pieces
2 inch ginger, sliced into thin wafers
1 TBSP kosher salt
2 quarts water, for boiling
2 TBSPs olive oil
3 TBSPs brown sugar, divided
6 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 inch ginger, sliced into strips
4 – 6 dried Thai hot peppers or according to your taste
1 star anise or 1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
½ tsp. whole cloves
2 dried bay leaves
1 inch piece cinnamon stick
3 TBSPs seasoned rice vinegar
3 TBSPs soy sauce
½ tsp. coarse sea salt
5 TBSPs water
In a large pot, combine 2 quarts water, sliced ginger and salt. Bring to a boil. Add pork belly. Boil for 20 minutes.
Remove pork from the boiling water. Discard the water.
Slice pork into 1 inch cubes. Pat dry with paper towels. Divide pork into 2 portions.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add one tablespoon oil. Add 1.5 TBSPs. of the brown sugar. Right when the sugar starts to melt, add one portion of the cubed pork. (Be careful of sugar-oil splatter. Turn the heat down if necessary.) Stir the pork until caramelized on all sides. This will take between 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the pork onto a platter.
(By this time there should enough pork fat drippings in the skillet where you do not need to add additional oil)
Add the remaining brown sugar to the skillet. Again, right before the sugar starts to melt, add the remaining portion of the pork. Stir the pork until caramelized on all sides. Remove the pork to a platter. Pour the excess fat dripping into a bowl and save for future use.
Add the caramelized pork back into the skillet. Add the minced garlic, sliced ginger, dried Thai hot peppers, star anise or fennel seeds, black peppercorns, whole cloves, bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Sauté a few more minutes.
Pour rice vinegar, soy sauce and water into the pot. Stir and cover the pot. Bring pork to a quick boil over medium high heat. Immediately reduce heat to low. Simmer pork for 2 – 3 hours until it is soft but not falling apart. Stir occasionally.
Serve with rice.
I find the flavor of star anise to be a bit strong so I used fennel seeds instead.
Enjoy and Happy Cooking!