Last year, one of my favourite Christmas gifts was Diana Henry’s “From the Oven to the Table”, a cooking tome focused on tray-bakes and one-pot dishes. Any cookbook worth its salt in our home is covered in brightly coloured post-it flags, and this collection of recipes probably has more than any other in my bookshelf. It’s from this cookbook that today’s Sticky Sweet Chilli Pork Belly gets its inspiration.
Diana’s recipe Pork Belly Strips (pg39) is the first from her book that we decided to try, with our own adjustments made of course. Her recipe calls for soy bean paste (which I had none of) so I used soy sauce. It called for chilli paste, (which I had none of) so I used hot broad bean paste. I also doubled some of the quantities, reduced others, and decided to make a glaze to make it extra sticky.
This is the joy of following any recipe – changing the ingredients to suit your tastes and what you have on hand. And this is what makes a recipe yours. These little changes, these little additions. Is this recipe Diana’s? Of course. But it is also indisputably something new, though it pays its respects to the original.
In our home, pork belly is an undeniable favourite. The tender, fatty meat that absorbs any flavours quite delectably is a mainstay on our menus – after all, it’s deceptively easy to cook, as well as being incredibly affordable.
I tend to lean towards Chinese and Japanese flavours when cooking pork belly, and I suppose this is influenced by how well these flavour profiles work with fattier cuts of meat. Soy sauce and ginger have amazing properties of complementing fattier flavours, lifting them to a level of greatness.
Let’s talk Ingredients…
Pork belly slices: You can find these at most supermarkets these days. If not, then any good butcher will have these on hand.
Soy sauce: Regular or light soy sauce is the best option for this recipe and is available at most supermarkets.
Hot Broad Bean Paste: This speciality ingredient is made from xxx and is delightfully spicy. You will find this at any decent East Asian supermarket.
Honey: There’s no need for any specialist honey here, simply use whatever you have to hand or is your preference.
Toasted sesame oil: Toasted sesame oil is a darker colour and deeper flavour than regular sesame oil. You will be able to find this in the oils section of any supermarket.
Cornflour: Don’t be tempted to swap this out for normal flour. Cornflour is used as a thickener in many Chinese sauces and creates that almost translucent quality. Normal flour will thicken the sauce but will create a grainy and floury texture, and simply won’t work well in this recipe.
Sweet Chilli Pork Belly
- 1kg pork belly slices
- 6 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp hot broad bean paste
- 2 tbsp honey
- 4 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 tsp minced ginger
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp cornflour
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Spring onions, finely sliced
- Marinade pork belly in soy sauce, bean paste, honey, sesame oil, ginger and garlic for 30-60 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 160C.
- Remove pork belly slices from marinade, and set aside any excess liquid to create the glaze.
- Arrange pork belly slices in a single layer on a baking tray. Transfer to the hot oven, and bake for 45 minutes.
- Brush the glaze (instructions below) over the slices, and return to the oven for an additional 45 minutes.
- Once cooked, remove from oven and brush on additional glaze as required. Serve hot, sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and sliced spring onions.
- In a small pot, whisk together water and cornflour until well combined before stirring through the excess marinade.
- Heat the sauce over low-medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until bubbling.
- Remove from heat and brush across pork belly slices.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 645Total Fat: 47gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 31gCholesterol: 140mgSodium: 1054mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 41g
Please note, this nutrition information is to be used as a guide only. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.