If you're after the ultimate slow-cooked comfort food, look no further than this Chinese recipe for marinated pork belly, steamed for 2½ hours until it melts in your mouth.
- 1 kg pork belly, rind removed, cut into 3 cm-wide pieces
- 160 ml soy sauce
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) fermented rice wine (see Note) or Chinese rice wine (shaoxing)
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 45 g (⅓ cup) glutinous (sweet) rice (see Note)
- 2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
- 600 g (about 1 large) taro, peeled, halved, thickly sliced
- coral lettuce leaves, thinly sliced long red chilli, spring onions cut into 5cm lengths, and steamed rice, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating time overnight
Toss pork in a bowl with soy, rice wine, sesame oil and 1 tsp salt. Refrigerate overnight. Drain, reserving 60 ml marinade.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add rice and five-spice, and stir for 3 minutes or until fragrant and rice starts to change colour. Cool, then coarsely grind in a small food processor. Combine with pork and reserved marinade.
Place a large steamer over a saucepan of simmering water over low heat. Arrange the taro slices in a single layer around the base and side of a deep 19 cm pie dish or another similar dish. Top with the pork mixture and place the dish inside the steamer. Cover and cook for 2½ hours or until pork is meltingly tender.
Remove the dish from the steamer and cover with lettuce leaves. Invert onto a plate, scatter with chilli and spring onions, and serve with steamed rice.
Fermented rice wine, available from Chinese food shops, is a traditional Hakka ingredient.
Glutinous (sweet) rice, from Asian food shops, is a starchy short-grain rice that becomes sticky when cooked.
Drink Napoleone & Co Apple Cider, Yarra Valley ($18 for a four-pack)
As seen in Feast magazine, Issue 9, pg70.
Photography by Derek Swalwell.