If you are what you eat, than I am a mess of pork belly. This fatty pork remains my Achilles heal of food weaknesses. Granted I don’t eat it as much as I want but, when I do, it has to be cooked to perfection. Now, in my humble opinion, no (vast) region does pork belly better than Asia – sliced thinly and stir-fried in Gojuchung paste or a salted Chinese black bean sauce, crisped up Cantonese style, and a thousand others. You name it, I will happily devour it.
Right now, my favorite pork belly du jour is confit pork belly cooked in a mixture of its own fat, Thai chili paste, ginger, garlic and soy. Tender pork, slightly crisped on the outside, slowly cooked in the aromatics of Thai Chili paste which renders the fat a beautiful red color so that I can’t help but to be tempted to spoon over everything else on my plate. Don’t judge me, if you tasted it, then you’d do exactly the same thing.
Confit Pork Belly roasted Thai Chili Paste, Garlic and Ginger
- 1 TBSP ginger (crushed first then sliced)
- 4 cloves of garlic (crushed)
- 1 TBSP Thai Chili Paste (Nam Prik Pao)
- 1 TBSP soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 400 g (14 oz) pork belly (skin removed)
- 1 cup (240 ml) of water
- chopped scallions for garnishing
- Preheat oven to 175 C / 350 F.
- Remove skin from pork belly and cut into blocks 2 in x 1 in (4.5 cm x 2 cm) large.
- Combine water, soy sauce, Thai Chili Paste, crushed ginger and garlic together in a large pan. Bring to a boil over high heat and add pork belly. Season with 1/2 tsp of sea salt.
- Stir together and let cook in chili broth over high heat until mixture has reduced by half.
- Transfer to a shallow baking dish. The baking dish should be big enough to lay each piece of pork belly flat but still small enough for each piece to be smothered in its own juice. As the pork belly roasts, the water will evaporate and be replaced with the rendered fat from the pork.
- Slowly roast in the oven at 175 C /350 F for 45 min- 60 min. Pork should be slightly brown and crispy on the inside but still tender and soft.
- Remove from oven and garnish with chopped scallions. Goes great over steamed jasmine rice and bak choy smothered in oyster sauce.