I have a weakness. Pork belly is my weakness. There’s just something about tender meat that melt-in-your-mouth the moment it touches your tongue. I never really use to like eating the fatty bits of the pork belly. I remember when I did marketing, I used to look for the piece that had less fat and more meat. But now, I look for equal proportions haha. The mr has changed me for the better. I didn’t know what I have been missing! And now when we are back in Singapore, we would meet Stephie for a meal of fatty pork! Can’t wait till the end of the year! (:
After the mr’s family went back, we had heaps of food left in the freezer and I needed to clear it or I won’t be able to buy other things! I opened the freezer and saw a container of sliced pork belly. Immediately, I knew what I wanted to cook – kong ba (twice-cooked pork belly). Nothing beats slow braised pork belly that is caramelised till the meat is soft and easily breaks apart. YUMS!
Traditionally, you would eat it with a soft steamed bun. But I was too lazy to head out to Springvale to get it and found some man tou in the fridge so I steamed that instead. Though it’s not as soft as the traditional buns, they worked well too! Plus, to off-set the unhealthy fatty bits, we had it with lettuce! This is the epitome of a balanced diet haha (:
Do note that usually, you would use a whole slab of pork belly and slice it up after, but mine was already sliced up. To me, there wasn’t much difference, in fact I think it works better and you don’t have to risk burning your fingers to slice them up later. But either way, you’ll have yummies in your tummies!
Kong Ba (adapted from To Food With Love)
1kg pork belly (either whole or sliced)
1/2 tsp thick caramel black soy + 4 tbs extra
2 shallots, thinly sliced
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp five-spice powder
2 tbs light soy
1 tbs honey
2 tbs sugar
1/2 star anise
1 tsp sesame oil
2 cups water
bunch of coriander, roughly chopped and separate into 2 portions
ground white pepper
Vegetable oil, for deep frying
1) Boil a large pot of water and boil the pork belly for 15-20 minutes. Remove and rinse the pork under cold water before patting them dry. Allow it to cool slightly and rub the skin with 1/2 tbs of thick caramel dark soy.
2) In a frying pan, heat enough vegetable oil on medium heat. Be careful not to heat it too high. Carefully lower the pork belly into the oil and fry till the skin is crisp (about 5 minutes). Do be very careful as there will be a very big splatter, use a splatter screen to avoid being burnt. Take the pork belly out carefully and drain off the excess oil using paper towel. (If you use a whole slab of pork belly, slice the pork belly to 1/2 inches thick after it has cooled down.)
3) In a large metal bowl, add the rest of the caramel thick dark soy, light soy, honey, sugar, star anise, five-spice powder, garlic, shallots and sesame oil and mix till well combined. Add the fried pork belly and marinade for at least 30 minutes.
4) In a medium sized pot, add 1 tbs vegetable oil and fry the pork belly until they are seared well. Add the rest of the marinade and top it with 2 cups of water. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil, then lower the heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Add half of the coriander (including the stems) and continue to simmer for 1/2 hour. Check occasionally and turn the pork to make sure it is evenly covered in the sauce. The pork should be tender and the liquid should be reduced to a thicker consistency. Season with ground white pepper. Garnish with the rest of the coriander before serving with hot steamed buns and lettuce!
Remember to always cook with love!