This is a really cool dish because it embodies what the food at Ms G’s is all about: it’s a combination of different Asian cuisines combined to create something else. This recipe is our kind-of ‘Peking duck’ dish: the components are all there... crisp, tasty meat, the freshness of a salad element, a potent sauce... all wrapped up in those super-addictive pancakes. It’s Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese all in the one bite. The gel was created because nuoc cham (while flavour-wise works perfectly with this dish) was too liquid and would run down to your elbows as you ate it. Using agar-agar to create a gel fixed that. This recipe is in large-ish proportions because it’s perfect party food. Also, most people can’t just stop at one or two. Simply divide down the quantities and adjust the cooking times to make this dish suitable for smaller numbers. Prepare a day in advance to allow the pork belly to dry out before roasting.
Fill a large wok or saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Blanch the pork belly for 3 minutes, then drain and transfer to a tray, skin side up. Pierce all over the skin with a skewer. Next, mix the bicarbonate of soda with roughly two-thirds of the salt and rub this over the skin. Combine the sugar, Chinese five-spice and remaining salt. Turn the pork belly over and rub the spice mix into the underside. Set aside to rest, uncovered, in a cool, dry place for 24 hours. If you can’t do this, store it overnight in the fridge on a rack with a drip tray, uncovered.
Wearing food prep gloves or similar (trust me, you don’t want this on your hands), mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, making sure you massage the cucumbers really well. Cover and set aside in the fridge.
When you’re ready to cook the pork,
Place a large bamboo steamer over a saucepan of simmering water and steam the pancake wrappers until soft. Wrap in a tea towel (dish towel) to keep them warm as they have a tendency to dry out and go hard.
Carve the roasted pork belly into thick slices and arrange on a serving plate. Serve with the warm pancakes, herbs, nuoc cham gel and cucumber kimchi. This is a fun DIY dish as people can have a little more or less of the stuff they love.
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