Kong Ba (Twice-Cooked Pork Belly)

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

Steps :

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!

Enjoy! (:

Remember to always cook with love!

Veal Goulash

I never had veal. Not that I can remember. It just never hit me that maybe I should give it a try. Maybe it’s just the thought that veal is the meat from young calves that made me not want to try them at first. But after watching Italian Food Safari and seeing how they cooked a veal osso bucco. I really wanted to try veal, at least once. And so I did. Of course I didn’t know what was the best way to cook the veal and so I decided, veal goulash!

So off I went to the supermarket to get the ingredients for a goulash. I walked the aisles of Woolies and just couldn’t think of what to compliment the veal goulash. Mash? Greens? But in the end, I decided that the stew would be perfect with egg tagliatelle. With the delicious gravy coating every single strand of the pasta. What could be better? And might I add, more comforting on a cold night after a day of work?

I cheated today and adapted from the recipe that was found on the packaging of the veal stew meat I bought from Woolies. Was a bit apprehensive because they put the juice of a whole orange in the stew. Something sweet in savoury? Will it work? Then I remembered the winners of MKR (Leigh & Jennifer) who used pineapple juice when cooking their massaman curry (so going to try it!), making Judge Manu Feildel go “OMG!” I immediately decided to give it a shot. And I am so glad I did! It was delicious!

As it cooks, the smell of the orange gets stronger. But when you actually taste it, there is only a subtle taste of the orange and it actually works beautifully!  With the saltiness of the parmesan cheese, everything just went so well together. We loved it!

Veal Goulash (adapted from Woolworths Recipe)

400g veal stew cut, diced

1 red onion, sliced into small wedges

1 heap tbs plain flour

1 tin (400g) diced tomatoes

1/2 cup green split olives

Juice of 1 orange

Rind of 1 orange, grated

250ml beef stock

1 tsp paprika (can add more if you like the spice!)

1 heap tbs thickened cream

salt and pepper, to taste

Steps :

1) Heat a heavy-based pot over medium-high heat with 1 tbs of olive oil and brown the veal. Brown them in 3 batches so that it will give the stew a nice dark colour. Take them out and put them aside.

2) Add another tbs of olive oil and the onions. Fry till the onions start to break down and soften. Add the plain flour and stir until the onions are well coated.

3) Slowly add the beef stock, olives, diced tomatoes, orange juice, orange rind and paprika. Allow the stew to simmer for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Pop the lid on but do not cover the pot completely. Give a small gap to allow some of the liquid to evaporate, thickening the stew. Season with salt and pepper.

4) Just before you serve, add the cream and stir it well. If serving with pasta, cook the pasta according to the package and add it into the goulash coating the pasta well. Top it with shaven or grated parmesan and ENJOY! (:

If you ask me, a messy plate is a yummy plate. haha (: If you have any good veal recipes, please point me to the direction! Would love to learn more ways to cook this gorgeous meat!