It was not too long ago when a new Asian market opened up a few miles from our house, and as always, I was pretty darn excited. Granted the distance was the same to this new store as it would have been to any other Asian market in town, but this one was special. This was the market the size of a standard grocery store. Sure this market has three aisles of soy sauce, and 4 aisles of noodles, but the excitement remained the same, especially that they had a full meat and seafood department, of which I had interest in.
After trying one of their banh mi which they make fresh on site, I went to the meat department and the pork belly quickly caught my attention. My coworker and I have been talking about pork belly for some time now. We have both been wanting to make our own bacon, but what I also have been wanting to make is that awesome crispy pork that you often find in Chinese restaurants, if you are lucky that is.
The Chinese make their version of crispy pork belly, as do the Filipinos. The Filipino version of crispy pork belly is known as lechon kawali, however, I wanted to get a crispy pork without having to fry anything. After all, there is plenty of top fat on the pork belly, allowing you to roast the pork to perfection. If you have never tried this at a restaurant, now is your chance. Not only is this recipe really simple, but it is a great snack that almost anyone who likes pork is going to love.
- 2 lbs of pork belly
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1/2 tbsp sea salt
- 1/2 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp Chinese Five Spice
- 1 tbsp Chinese Black Bean Chili Paste
Begin by scoring your pork belly. With a sharp knife slice into the fat, making cross marks, just deep enough to not cut through the pork. Poke the bottom and side of the pork, making incisions throughout the pork.
Mix the all of the ingredients, with the exception of the salt and vinegar. Place the pork in a large ziplock bag, and pour in the mixed ingredients. Seal and begin massaging the pork, getting the mixture rubbed into the pork. Rub it well. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, but overnight if you can.
When you are ready to cook the pork, remove it from the bag and place fat side up on a large baking sheet covered with foil and lined with a grated baking rack.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Take some paper towel and completely dry or remove any moisture from the top fat. Sprinkle with the salt and brush the vinegar on top of the fat.
Place the baking sheet with the pork in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. The time pretty much begins to brown and crispy up the pork while some of that goodness drips down onto the pork itself, adding more flavor.
After the 30 minutes, reduce the heat to 350 degrees and cook for one hour.
Remove the sheet from the oven and let cool. When you are ready to serve, cut into bite sized pieces and serve with the following:
- 1/4 cup of soy sauce
- pinch of red chili flakes
- pinch of black pepper
Not only are these crispy pork belly nuggets addicting, but they are so delicious. I had a whole table of kids gobbling them down, they were that great! Enjoy.