Torched Pork Belly #SundayFunday
Updated: Feb 5
When I first saw the theme for this week's Sunday Funday, I toyed with the idea of making a dish to honor the year of the rabbit...with a rabbit dish. Hmmm. We love rabbit. But, then, a friend commented on her own post that it's not advised to eat the astrological animal for Lunar New Year. So noted.
Stacy of Food Lust People Love, Sue of Palatable Pastime, Rebekah of Making Miracles, and Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm coordinate this low-stress group; we only participate when we are inspired. This week Wendy is hosting and picked a theme of a Chinese Lantern Festival to celebrate Lunar New Year! Here's the #SundayFunday line-up for our virtual celebration...
A Day in the Life on the Farm: Woo Dip Harr
Amy's Cooking Adventures: Pork Tang Yuan (Pork Rice Balls)
Culinary Cam: Torched Pork Belly (you're here)
Karen's Kitchen Stories: Chicken and Seafood Fried Rice
Mayuri's Jikoni: Pak Choi Noodle Soup
Palatable Pastime: Pork Chow Fun Noodles
Sneha's Recipe: Keto Stir Fry Bok Choy With Garlic Dim Sum Sauce
It's not the year of the pig, so I decided to make something with pork.
Torched Pork Belly
3½ lb pork belly block
1 Tablespoons Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese Seven Spice), divided
2 Spring onions or 1 leek, trimmed and thickly sliced
3 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
1" knob fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 Tablespoon oil
1 cup sake
1 cup soy sauce
2 cups water
¼ cup maple syrup
2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoon sesame oil
Also needed: 100% cotton twine, Dutch oven or other heavy lidded pot, culinary torch
assortment of pickles or fermented sides
Place the pork belly, rind side down, on a work space. Sprinkle the top with 1 Tablespoon Shichimi Togarashi. Roll the pork belly into a cylinder, with the ends showing the varying layers of meat and fat. Run some cotton twine to secure the pork into its cylindrical shape. Rub the remaining 1 Tablespoon Shichimi Togarashi on the outside of the roll.
Heat the oil in your pan (I used a Dutch oven). Add the rolled pork belly to the pan. Sear the pork belly on all sides and the ends. It should take about 12 to 15 minutes to go all the way around.
Add in the aromatics - Spring onion or leek, garlic, and ginger - and pour in the sake, soy sauce, water, rice wine vinegar, maple syrup, and sesame oil. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and cover.
Let the pork belly braise for 3 hours, turning the roll every half hour or so. After 3 hours, the pork should be a deep mahogany color and the liquid reduced. Let the meat cool slightly before handling it. Once the meat is slightly cooled, transfer it to a lidded container and pour the sauce over the top. Let the meat rest, in its cooking sauce, overnight.
After the meat has rested overnight, you can scoop out the solidified fat from the cooking sauce and discard it. Reserve the sauce for future uses. It's a great addition to stir-fries and marinades. Or you can use it as a dipping sauce for the Chashu.
Cut the twine with kitchen shears and untie the roll. Slice the Chashu into ¼-inch slices. Place the Chashu slices on baking sheet and broil them. Or, as we did, use a culinary torch at the table. Serve with rice and pickles or fermented sides.
That's a wrap for my Chinese Lantern Festival offering for #SundayFunday. We'll be back next week with salty-sweet recipes for Valentines' Day. Amy of Amy's Cooking Adventures is hosting. Stay tuned!