Recipe: Caramelised pork belly
The caramel sauce for the pork belly is flavoured by Chinese master stock. See below for more on master stock. Serves 4.
CHINESE MASTER STOCK:
6 litres water
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 knob ginger, sliced
1 handful spring onion, green ends
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
375ml light soy sauce
375ml Shaoxing wine (Chinese cooking wine - other rice wine can be substituted)
75g Chinese rock sugar (flakes of sugar that may be available in Asian stores. Shavings of hardened palm sugar can be substituted)
1kg pork belly
2 shallots, finely sliced
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
300g brown sugar
1 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp lime juice
Handful fresh coriander leaves
1 long red chilli, deseeded and sliced
1 Tbsp black sesame seeds
For master stock, place all ingredients in a large stockpot and bring to the boil. Taste stock for balance of flavours and adjust as required.
Add pork belly to master stock and gently simmer for 1 hour. Remove and set aside to cool.
Soak shallots in vinegar. Heat brown sugar in deep-sided frying pan, stir and cook over medium heat until caramelised. Add 1 cup master stock, fish sauce and lime juice. Cook over high heat until reduced and thickened. Cut pork belly into slices and add to sauce with combined coriander leaves, shallots and chilli.
Place slices of caramelised pork and sauce on a plate, garnish with salad and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
■ To store master stock, allow it to cool. Strain through a fine sieve and refrigerate until needed. Once cooled, strained and refrigerated, master stock can be used again and again indefinitely. Replenish the stock with fresh garlic, ginger, green onions and aromatics each time you use it and the flavour will continue to intensify. This stock can also be frozen.