Blood Orange Pork Belly

I had some friends over for dinner last night, one of our fortnightly catch ups where we challenge each other to cook something we’ve never cooked before. Despite being one of my favourite foods, I’d never cooked pork belly myself – I always order it at restaurants, but have never done anything with it at home. I decided that I wanted to give it a try for my round, but I was worried about timing. If I get home at 5:30pm and my friends show up for dinner at 6:30pm, how am I supposed to produce slow cooked pork belly with a crispy crunchy top? Erm. I’m not.

So, armed with my determination to cook pork belly at home, I thought about the ways I’d eaten it in the past. One particular dish came to mind, Pad Prik Kingh, a Thai dish where the pork belly is served in a thick spicy sauce – it’s amazing! Combine that with the kilos and kilos of amazing Red Belly Oranges that I’d been gifted and I came up with my own saucy pork belly dish. And you know what? It’s freaking amazing and I’d like to eat it all the time thanks.

The combined citrus tartness of the blood orange with the sweet kecap manis works so well, the flavours in this dish worked together perfectly. But best of all? It took about 30 minutes to make the entire thing.

Ingredients (makes 2 and a half serves – or 2 big serves):

Pork belly (I used about 400grams – but you can use as much as you like and adjust the other ingredients accordingly)

One small blood orange

Shallots

Sesame seeds

Garlic

Ginger

Chilli flakes (fresh chilli is also good)

Kecap Manis (sweet soy sauce)

Oyster sauce

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Method:

Cut the pork belly in to 1cm x 5cm pieces. Season with salt and white pepper (black is fine too).

Add the pork belly to a large frying pan on a medium high heat. Cook the pork belly until it is browned, turning the meat every few minutes to ensure it is evenly cooked.

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 There’ll be lots of oil and fat, so make sure you use a splatter screen and that you drain off the excess fat a few times during the cooking process.

 While the pork is cooking, make the sauce. Add the grated zest of half the blood orange to a bowl, combine it with the juice of the whole blood orange, two cloves of garlic (chopped finely), one shallot (also chopped finely), a teaspoon of minced ginger (I use the stuff in a tube, so I just give a big squeeze), two tablespoons of kecap manis and one tablespoon of oyster sauce) – add the chilli flakes to your desired heat level. As always, adjust this to suit your tastes, and the amount you’re cooking.

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When you’re happy with the colour of the pork belly, and the level the fat has reduced to, drain off the excess and wipe the frying pan with a paper towel to mop up the leftover fat. Add the sauce and stir through. Continue to cook the pork on a medium heat, stirring occasionally – you want the sauce to reduce a little and become thicker. Once you’re happy with the consistency, stir through a handful of sesame seeds and some fresh shallots (sliced).

Serve with jasmine rice and blanched Asian greens (I used pak choy).

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