Spicy Grilled Pork Belly on Chinese Greens

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Preparation info

  • For


    Main Courses
    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Sugar Club Cookbook

By Peter Gordon

Published 1997

  • About

I think it’s the fattiness of pork belly that puts a lot of people off. For me that fattiness is a compelling reason to eat it – maybe not a healthy one, but it is so delicious! The following recipe is a great way to enhance the flavour further with a sweet and spicy cooking method, which is Chinese in origin. For the Chinese greens, look at the recipe and cook them with or without the shiitake mushrooms. The pork is also excellent with plain or coconut rice or on noodles. Another variation is to slice it thinly and add to a spicy laksa. If you make this in winter, tinned tomatoes can be used in place of fresh.


  • 1.8kg (4 lb) pork belly (ask the butcher to remove bones, but keep the rind on)
  • 600g ( lb) very ripe tomatoes
  • 2 hot red chillies, stalks removed
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground star anise
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground cinnamon
  • 4 cloves, ground
  • 2 thumbs of ginger, roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 30ml (1 fl oz) Asian fish sauce
  • 20ml (¾ fl oz) tamari
  • 100g (oz) demerara sugar


Using a very sharp knife, score the rind of the pork lengthways at 1cm (⅓in) intervals — cut into the fat but don’t go as deep as the flesh. Put the remaining ingredients into a blender and purée to a fine paste. Get a dish that’s just large enough to hold the pork and pour half the paste in, lay the pork belly on top and then pour on the remaining paste. Rub the paste into the flesh, especially into the score marks on the rind. Cover and leave for 1 hour.

Turn the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Lay some foil in a shallow-sided baking tray and sit a cake rack on it – the rack must be larger than the pork belly. Put a baking shelf in the top third of the oven. Take the pork and lay it, rind side down, on the cake rack and place it in the oven. After 30 minutes baste it with some of the marinade left in the marinating dish. Roast for another hour, basting every 15 minutes. Then turn the belly over and cook for 30 minutes more. Test by cutting through the flesh a few centimetres from the end with a sharp knife. If it’s a little pink, that’s fine. The total cooking time will depend on the thickness of the pork – a particularly thick piece may need longer. If at any point it starts to burn, cover with foil but keep it roasting.

Leave the meat to go cold, then slice into 1cm (⅓in) thick pieces as you would bacon. Grill them over a barbecue or skillet or under a grill. Because the belly has a high fat content it may give off a lot of smoke and spit a little, so keep your eye on it and don’t let it burn. Cook for 2 minutes on each side and serve on top of the greens.