Sweet Black Vinegar Pork Belly

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

Appears in

Balance and Harmony

By Neil Perry

Published 2008

  • About

A bit like red braising, this is so delicious and so easy. The balance this time is between sweet and sour, creating a very alluring dish. If ‘sweet and sour’ makes you think of the red sauce you get in the average Chinese restaurant, this will change your mind forever about how good this dish can really be.

Ingredients

  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) boneless pork belly, cut into 3 cm ( inch) thick pieces across the grain
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon shaoxing
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • tablespoons peanut oil
  • 60 g ( oz/ cup) soft brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar
  • finely sliced spring onion (scallion), to serve
  • roasted sesame seeds, to serve

Method

Mix together ¼ teaspoon of the sea salt, the sugar, shaoxing, soy sauce and ½ tablespoon of the peanut oil, add the pork and leave to marinate for at least 2 hours, or overnight. Remove the pork from the marinade and pat dry with paper towel.

Heat a wok until smoking. Add the remaining oil and, when hot, stir-fry the pork in batches for about 4 minutes, turning occasionally, until well coloured on all sides. Return all the pork to the wok and add the brown sugar, vinegar, remaining salt and 375 ml (13 fl oz/ cups) water. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 1–1½ hours, or until the pork is very tender. If the sauce is a little thin, remove the pork from the sauce and return the wok to the heat. Boil until it has a syrupy consistency, then pour over the pork. Sprinkle with the sliced spring onion and sesame seeds.

Variations

You can also make this dish with spare ribs; there is something nice about chewing the meat off the bone. Try substituting chicken drumsticks or wings for the pork — you just need to cut the cooking time in half.