NEED TO KNOW
|Type of dish||Asian|
|Cooking time||1 - 2 hours|
|Serves/makes||3 - 4|
Quickly-cooked meals are just fine most of the time, but there are times when there is something particularly comforting about the tender succulence that comes only with long, slow cooking.
While this is probably usually more commonly associated with stews or casseroles, in this case the pork belly is simmered alone in a relatively small amount of well-flavoured liquid.
The five-spice mixture used in the sauce gives an extra warmth to the whole dish. It is an intensely aromatic blend of ground fennel seeds, cloves, cinnamon, star anise and szechuan pepper which not only gives a unique, distinctively Asian flavour but which also fills the kitchen with a wonderful fragrance.
If you don't have it at home already, you should be able to find it in bottles or packets in the spice section of most supermarkets.
FIVE-SPICED SIMMERED PORK
|about 600g pork belly|
|2 cloves garlic, crushed, peeled and chopped|
|2 Tbsp dark soy sauce|
|2 Tbsp whisky or brandy|
|1 Tbsp sesame oil|
|1 tsp (Chinese) five spice powder|
|1/4 to 12 cup water (plus extra if required)|
|1 tsp cornflour|
|1. Place the pork skin side up on a board, then score the skin at five to seven millimetre intervals (as for crackling) with a very sharp knife.
2. Mix together the next five ingredients with 1/4 cup of water. Place a teflon liner or sheet of baking paper in the bottom of a heavy pot, pour in the liquid and add the pork. Turn the pork a few times so it is coated with the liquid.
3. Arrange the pork skin side up and bring the mixture to the boil then cover the pot tightly and reduce the heat to very low.
4. Simmer gently for 60 minutes, then turn the pork over, add the extra liquid if it is looking dry, and simmer for a further 60 minutes or until the pork is very tender. (Check once or twice and add an extra couple of tablespoons of water if required.)
5. Remove the pork from the pot and slice thinly. Meanwhile mix the cornflour to a paste with one or two tablespoons of water and add it to the remaining cooking liquid, then heat, stirring continuously until the liquid thickens.
Serve the sliced pork on steamed rice, drizzled with a little of the thickened cooking liquid.
Lightly cooked or steamed broccolini or Asian-style greens make an ideal accompaniment. Serves 3-4
- © Fairfax NZ News
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