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Siu Yook (Roast Pork Belly)


Tepee
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I've attempted to make this 3 times, with 3 different degrees of success/failure. The best try had 2/3 crisp crackling skin, the other third rubber. What I can't understand (or can't accept) is why I can't get the whole piece of skin to crackle and crisp?

Pour boiling water over skin - check

Poke holes all over - check. I think the last I did was 2 million pricks.

Brushed vinegar over skin (a friend's tip) - check

Rest and let dry - check. I've let it dry uncovered in the fridge for 4 - 12 hours.

High initial heat - check

Then lower heat - check

Only consolation is all of them (if not for the skin) tasted so GOOD. Sigh, it looks so lurvely bubbling and blistering in the oven.

gallery_12248_3956_86955.jpg

Help. :sad:

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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Your siu yook looks soo good.

I'll ask my daddy tonight about siu yook, but when we were younger, he'd used to roast little suckling pigs in the back yard, and the skin was CRISPY and yummy. The only difference is that his skin was red, smooth, and incredibly skinny, not like the siu yook that you get out in the store where they are all bubbly.

I think he said the difference was due to the age of the pig, and the cooking method. He did use a baste of maltose sugar and sugar. Which my mom tells me that they do that to make their duck skin so crispy.

I'll ask him again tonight, and see if he remembers what he did.

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I've tried all those methods too. I love the thin crispy crackling that you only seem to get from the shops. The number of times i've tried to do it at home but to fail miserably! However the last couple of times i think i've nailed it:

gallery_52657_4505_138630.jpg

The key is direct heat on the skin using a grill (broiler in the US) almost to the point of charring, then scraping to give that even light crispy finish. Works a treat for me.

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Both your roast porks looked lovely!

Do you marinate the pork (on the inner side)? What do you use? Salt? Five spice powder?

I think the skin of a suckling pig from that of a matured pig, in that the suckling pig's skin is much thinner, "babier", and the underlying fat is much thinner. I think it is easier to roast the suckling pig's skin to crispy than regular pig/pork.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Oh, my word! Prawncracker! I'm so coveting your roast. Ahh....I didn't do the grilling part.

muichoi: Right. Will use the maltose right at the end. Another 5 mins? I left mine for half an hour.

Ah Leung Gaw: I just marinated the meat part with salt (lots!) and was light on the 5-spice powder. I'm sure suckling pigs give better results, but, the shops all use mature pigs and the skin is perfect........like Prawncrackers' roast.

Thanks, everyone.

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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Can anyone give me the names (in Chinese) of some recipes which use siu yook? I've only seen this sliced up and thrown in mi fen, which while tasty, always struck me as a waste of good roasted pork belly.

Btw, Tepee, that is a great, gluttony-inducing first photo. The picture in a picture is also very nice.

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All I use for flavouring is a dry rub of five spice and salt on the flesh side, I then poke the skin with this gorgeous looking implement !click! (Well, actually not this one as it’s new and fairly blunt – read the topic for explanation!!)

If your pork belly is of good quality then the skin should be nice and dry anyway, there will be no need to treat it with boiling water/vinegar/lemon juice etc. Besides I’m not sure how effective any of that stuff really is. Rub a mixture of coarse and fine salt onto the skin and roast as normal on a medium heat on a trivet. My idea is just to cook the meat till it’s done ignoring the crackling. I roast mine for only about an hour and fifteen in a 180C oven by which time the meat is still succulent but the crackling is nowhere near done.

Now comes the grilling/broiling part; under a moderate heat, blister the skin evenly all over until it’s just about to char. Too much and you’ll get that acrid burnt skin taste, too little and it’ll still be chewy. In a perfect world your belly will be flat (pork belly that is) and your grill will grill evenly. But the real world isn’t flat and even (literally) so you will be moving your belly around placing shunts underneath to make sure the skin blisters evenly. When you’re done the crackling will have big blisters all over and maybe a little charring – pretty unappetising. But let it cool a little (hot crackling is never crispy) then gently scrape way the top layer with a sharp knife. As you scrape an even layer of thin crispy golden crackling will reveal itself to you.

That’s it, that’s my method! My mother mentioned once that there’s an extra step the pros do with bicarbonate of soda to make the crackling even lighter, but she was hazy with the details so I’ve never experimented.

I’ve never used maltose on pork belly skin, I think that is more for ducks and geese to give that lacquered finish. Maybe it’s used for suckling pig but that is a different beast and method altogether.

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Rub a mixture of coarse and fine salt onto the skin and roast as normal on a medium heat on a trivet.
Just what I was going to post - same as what I saw chef Gary Rhodes doing for 'traditional' roast pork.

Best Wishes,

Chee Fai.

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Prawncrackers: My mom has that torture instrument, except hers is fully stainless steel and has a protective disk which springs up and down, so that if it is not in use, the spikes are hidden. Sigh...we can't seem to find it in the shops now; she got it 15 years ago. Since I don't have that, I use a thin little knife and my work is multiplied by the no. of spikes in the thingy. Good to let it all out once in a while.

How about a roast pork belly cook-off, guys? :smile:

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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I just talked to my daddy, and he had the same thing to say that everyone else is.

Pour boiling water over the skin, prick it, let it dry, and use really high heat. He always cooked his over charcoal and said he could never get the oven as hot as he needed it. Oh and he said he only used maltose sugar for the sucklng pig, not the mature ones.

Sorry I couldn't have been more help.

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Hey TP

Just saw the post.

The steps we use for siu yook is pretty much what you've listed, with a couple of additional steps.

Remove as much moisture as you can from the skin - just placing it in the fridge to dry out is not sufficient. Salt the skin with lots of salt before placing it in the fridge to dry. Dab off any moisture with kitchen towels and repeat the salting and dabbing process several times to draw as much moisture out from the skin as possible.

You also need to make sure that the oil drips off during roasting - if the piece of sam chang yuk/ fah nam is pretty long, there tends to be an indentation in the middle when it's on the roasting rack. Place something under the middle part of the siu yook (a ceramic soup spoon or an additional smaller rack) so that oil doesn't collect in the middle but drips off to the side. The little puddle of oil on the indentation in the middle stops the skin from blistering evenly all over resulting in crunchy skin on the sides but dismally tough leather in the middle

Hope this works for you.

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I say! Shiewie! I must have been making my siu yook the same time you were posting this. Prawncrackers did mention that part, but, if I had seen your post (I need people to knock things into my head sometimes), I'd have wised up and do that extra part. As it turned out, I did have a bit of 'leather' but just a bit. Guys! Guys! I'm happy to report that I have finally succeeded! I did 2 things differently this time...

i) Since I didn't have that torture implement nor was I in a great need for some crazy spiking and jabbing work-out, this time I used a gillette blade and made very close and fine scores. No sweat. Literally.

ii) I baked the belly skin side down for an hour. Then flipped it upright and broiled it.

Behold the crackling!

gallery_12248_5284_5716.jpg

After scraping the charred parts...

gallery_12248_5284_32723.jpg

Oooh....the feel of the different textures and tastes of the melt-in-the-mouth fats against the light crispy crunchy skin. Yummmmm!!

gallery_12248_5284_5003.jpg

Thank you, all, for your generous help!

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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BINGO!! Nice one Tepee that crackling looks spot on. Light and crisp, yum.

I would have joined you this week in roasting some but my oven has been on the blink. Maybe this weekend i'll make some and post here, come on the rest of you there's no excuse!!

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Thanks, prawncrackers! Your detailed steps helped a lot. It especially made me brave to allow part of the belly to char away. Never knew I'd find wonderful crackling underneath.

What a feeling to get this right! :smile:

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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Forgot to wish your oven a speedy recovery, prawncrackers.

Can anyone give me the names (in Chinese) of some recipes which use siu yook? I've only seen this sliced up and thrown in mi fen, which while tasty, always struck me as a waste of good roasted pork belly.

Recipes or names? Afraid I can't help you there. I think there's a thread somewhere in the forum about what folks make with siu yook. A favourite of mine is this dish. Today's hunk of pork belly weighed 2 kg plus. What I did was:

1. give a quarter to my MIL,

2. ate a quarter for lunch as it is to really enjoy the crackling,

3. apportion the remainder to 3 packs, all chopped up, 2 to freeze, for whenever I want to make a vegetable/noodle dish more exciting,

4. chop into small slivers to fry with rice and a host of other add-ons for dinner tonight.

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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Amazing! TP. :wub:

I can't get decent pork belly here in Brandon even tho' we have a hog processing plant right in the city. The price at the supermarket is indecent compared to the Asian butcher in Winnipeg, and it's always about an inch thick only. :wacko: So, I won't be doing any siu yuk until I make a trip to the big city.

Meanwhile, I'll enjoy vicariously. So, siu-on for Sue-On! :laugh::laugh:

For leftover (possible?) siu yuk, steam pieces with ham ha...crackling and all. This will become infused with flavour and slightly chewy. YUM! :wub:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Awww....

When we don't get our pork belly from the wet market, I get them from the nearby hypermarkets. Those on the counters are only about 2-inch thick. But I ask (very nicely) the resident butchers and they bring out their uncut meat for me to choose exactly how much I want. :wub:

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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Congratulations Tepee, it looks great!

I wish our markets around here are nice like that tepee, everything seems to be coming in more and more prepackaged, not as much self portioning at the stores. But I think I found a few butcher shops that I'm excited to try.

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  • 4 weeks later...
All I use for flavouring is a dry rub of five spice and salt on the flesh side, I then poke the skin with this gorgeous looking implement !click! (Well, actually not this one as it’s new and fairly blunt – read the topic for explanation!!)

If your pork belly is of good quality then the skin should be nice and dry anyway, there will be no need to treat it with boiling water/vinegar/lemon juice etc.  Besides I’m not sure how effective any of that stuff really is.  Rub a mixture of coarse and fine salt onto the skin and roast as normal on a medium heat on a trivet.  My idea is just to cook the meat till it’s done ignoring the crackling.  I roast mine for only about an hour and fifteen in a 180C oven by which time the meat is still succulent but the crackling is nowhere near done. 

Now comes the grilling/broiling part; under a moderate heat, blister the skin evenly all over until it’s just about to char.  Too much and you’ll get that acrid burnt skin taste, too little and it’ll still be chewy.  In a perfect world your belly will be flat (pork belly that is) and your grill will grill evenly. But the real world isn’t flat and even (literally) so you will be moving your belly around placing shunts underneath to make sure the skin blisters evenly.  When you’re done the crackling will have big blisters all over and maybe a little charring – pretty unappetising.  But let it cool a little (hot crackling is never crispy) then gently scrape way the top layer with a sharp knife.  As you scrape an even layer of thin crispy golden crackling will reveal itself to you. 

That’s it, that’s my method!  My mother mentioned once that there’s an extra step the pros do with bicarbonate of soda to make the crackling even lighter, but she was hazy with the details so I’ve never experimented.   

I’ve never used maltose on pork belly skin, I think that is more for ducks and geese to give that lacquered finish.  Maybe it’s used for suckling pig but that is a different beast and method altogether.

I just made Siu Yook. I salted/five spiced the flesh in the usual way, but rubbed the skin side with soda and left overnight skin side down. In the morning I washed off the soda with wet kitchen towels and let it dry skin side up. I pricked the skin soon after it went into the oven. The result was miraculous, and clearly what restaurants do. Highly recommended.

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      Green Sichuan Peppercorns
       

      Fresh Green Sichuan Peppercorns

      I strongly recommend NOT buying Sichuan peppercorns in supermarkets outside China. They lose their scent, flavour and numbing quality very rapidly. There are much better examples available on sale online. I have heard good things about The Mala Market in the USA, for example.

      I buy mine in small 30 gram / 1oz bags from a high turnover vendor. And that might last me a week. It’s better for me to restock regularly than to use stale peppercorns.

      Both red and green peppercorns are used in the preparation of flavouring oils, often labelled in English as 'Prickly Ash Oil'. 花椒油 (huā jiāo yóu) or 藤椒油 (téng jiāo yóu).
       

       
      The tree's leaves are also used in some dishes in Sichuan, but I've never seen them out of the provinces where they grow.
       
      A note on my use of ‘Sichuan’ rather than ‘Szechuan’.
       
      If you ever find yourself in Sichuan, don’t refer to the place as ‘Szechuan’. No one will have any idea what you mean!

      ‘Szechuan’ is the almost prehistoric transliteration of 四川, using the long discredited Wade-Giles romanization system. Thomas Wade was a British diplomat who spoke fluent Mandarin and Cantonese. After retiring as a diplomat, he was elected to the post of professor of Chinese at Cambridge University, becoming the first to hold that post. He had, however, no training in theoretical linguistics. Herbert Giles was his replacement. He (also a diplomat rather than an academic) completed a romanization system begun by Wade. This became popular in the late 19th century, mainly, I suggest, because there was no other!

      Unfortunately, both seem to have been a little hard of hearing. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked why the Chinese changed the name of their capital from Peking to Beijing. In fact, the name didn’t change at all. It had always been pronounced with /b/ rather than /p/ and /ʤ/ rather than /k/. The only thing which changed was the writing system.

      In 1958, China adopted Pinyin as the standard romanization, not to help dumb foreigners like me, but to help lower China’s historically high illiteracy rate. It worked very well indeed, Today, it is used in primary schools and in some shop or road signs etc., although street signs seldom, if ever, include the necessary tone markers without which it isn't very helpful.
       

      A local shopping mall. The correct pinyin (with tone markers) is 'dōng dū bǎi huò'.
       
      But pinyin's main use today is as the most popular input system for writing Chinese characters on computers and cell-phones. I use it in this way every day, as do most people. It is simpler and more accurate than older romanizations. I learned it in one afternoon.  I doubt anyone could have done that with Wade-Giles.
       
      Pinyin has been recognised for over 30 years as the official romanization by the International Standards Organization (ISO), the United Nations and, believe it or not, The United States of America, along with many others. Despite this recognition, old romanizations linger on, especially in America. Very few people in China know any other than pinyin. 四川 is  'sì chuān' in pinyin.
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