Crispy Pork Belly Pancakes with Cucumber Kimchi and Nuoc Cham

banner

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Complex

  • Serves about

    12

Appears in

Mr Hong

By Dan Hong

Published 2014

  • About

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.

Ingredients

Roasted Pork Belly

  • 1 piece of pork belly, around 5 kg (11 lb 4 oz)
  • 30 g (1 oz) bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 150 g ( oz) salt
  • tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar
  • 35 g ( oz) Chinese five-spice

Cucumber Kimchi

  • 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) salted cucumber (Essentials)
  • ½ bunch spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
  • ½ onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons Korean chilli powder
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon chilli oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated garlic
  • 1 small long red chilli, very finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Method

Roasted Pork Belly

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.

Cucumber Kimchi

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, preheat the oven to 240°C (475°F/Gas 8). Put the pork belly on a rack in a roasting tin and roast for 30 minutes. Turn the heat down to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4) and continue roasting for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and, using a knife, scrape off any burnt bits and any excess salt. Keep warm.

To Serve

  • Peking duck pancake wrappers
  • sprigs of coriander (cilantro), Vietnamese mint, Thai basil and round leaf mint
  • nuoc cham gel (Essentials)

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.