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eG Cook-Off #65: Pork Belly


David Ross
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And, here's what we did with the second belly…we meaning my husband lol.

Bacon!

Brined for a week and then smoked for 4 hours at 160 degrees.

attachicon.gifImage.jpg

attachicon.gifImage 1.jpg

Do you prefer to bake the bacon or pan-fry? I prefer to put the slices on a rack over a cookie sheet and bake in a 400 oven, turning once or twice, until crispy.

I am the same way--in the oven. I, frankly, am not good at pan frying bacon and I like my results a whole lot better in the oven.

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A version of Nyonya-style Babi Panggang.

Closely after recipe P38 of Irene's Peranakan Recipes.

Pork belly piece:

DSCN0641a_1k.jpg

Sliced lengthwise, fairly deeply. Slathered w/ a mix of chopped garlic, salt & pepper, rubbed into the slits also.

DSCN0644a_1k.jpg

Rested overnight (cold garage). Roasted in medium oven for a short while. Pulled out, skin pricked w/ a sharp pointed paring knife, then broiled under the grill till the skin bubbled/crackled & turned brown. Left it a bit too long (surfing the Net)... Back into the oven for a bit. Pulled again, flipped over, "marinade" of chopped shallots, sugar, dark soy sauce, ground coriander powder, five-spice powder rubbed in. Flipped back over, returned to oven till meat at thickest part was at about 160ºF.

"Marinade":

DSCN0659a_1k.jpg

After final pull = "done". (Burnt edges scraped off)

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Chopped up (part of it) and plated;

with pickled scallions & Japanese cucumbers, white rice, Napa cabbage in chicken stock.

DSCN0673b_1k.jpg

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A version of Nyonya-style Babi Panggang.

Closely after recipe P38 of Irene's Peranakan Recipes.

Pork belly piece:

attachicon.gifDSCN0641a_1k.jpg

Sliced lengthwise, fairly deeply. Slathered w/ a mix of chopped garlic, salt & pepper, rubbed into the slits also.

attachicon.gifDSCN0644a_1k.jpg

Rested overnight (cold garage). Roasted in medium oven for a short while. Pulled out, skin pricked w/ a sharp pointed paring knife, then broiled under the grill till the skin bubbled/crackled & turned brown. Left it a bit too long (surfing the Net)... Back into the oven for a bit. Pulled again, flipped over, "marinade" of chopped shallots, sugar, dark soy sauce, ground coriander powder, five-spice powder rubbed in. Flipped back over, returned to oven till meat at thickest part was at about 160ºF.

"Marinade":

attachicon.gifDSCN0659a_1k.jpg

After final pull = "done". (Burnt edges scraped off)

attachicon.gifDSCN0664a_1k.jpg

Chopped up (part of it) and plated;

with pickled scallions & Japanese cucumbers, white rice, Napa cabbage in chicken stock.

attachicon.gifDSCN0673b_1k.jpg

I just drooled.

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Thanks, David Ross & Shelby (& Anna N).

A comment about what kind of pork belly is desired - I think most folks here prefer meaty cuts, the meatier the better, I suspect. From the perspective of E/SE Asian cooking, a generous amount of fat is commonly preferred, with as many separate intercalating layers as possible being the most prized.

Here are two image sets - one for "five flower (pork) meat" (五花肉) and the other for "three layer (pork) meat" (三層肉), both of which are terms for pork belly. If I were to choose from the examples shown in the "five flower meat" set of images, I personally would LOVE to get my hands on this, this, and this - as just three examples. From the "three layer meat" set, three examples I'd snatch up would be this, this and this.

Naturally, YMMV.

:-)

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Hi huiray,

 

Your pork belly dish (above) looks fantastic .  I am wondering though...when you have it under the broiler to crisp the skin, what is the smoke factor like...?  Your recipe looks like something I'd want to try, but am afraid of triggering any and all the smoke alarms in my apartment.  ( I don't have a range hood, unfortunately...)

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wokkingtall,  the smoke factor isn't bad at all - not none, but fairly minimal.  The aroma is certainly present, though.  I have smoke alarms also and they didn't seem disturbed by this.

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Anna, how is the bacon coming along?

Another big FAIL. To me the cure I used was way too sweet. The belly itself should have been trimmed (by me) to be much neater. I think I did not pay enough attention to detail. Will be on the look out for another belly and will revert to Ruhlman's cure. I have done it before and it was fine bacon.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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Another big FAIL. To me the cure I used was way too sweet. The belly itself should have been trimmed (by me) to be much neater. I think I did not pay enough attention to detail. Will be on the look out for another belly and will revert to Ruhlman's cure. I have done it before and it was fine bacon.

Maybe you could use it for the famous bacon jam that everyone loves here?

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Kow Yuk 2014-0307

 

A version of Mui Choy Kow Yuk (梅菜扣肉) (Hakka-style pork belly with preserved mustard greens).

 

 

Pork belly pieces: These are from half of a 3+ pound slab, cut into two.

DSCN0756a_800.jpg

 

Blanched/cooked in simmering water for about 5 minutes.  Prickled the skin all over with a fork.

DSCN0759a_600.jpg  DSCN0762a_600.jpg

 

Pan-fried on all sides, with canola oil.

DSCN0764b_600.jpg  DSCN0768a_600.jpg

 

Soaked in cold water for a while to chill it and to soften the skin a fair bit.

DSCN0771a_600.jpg

 

Cut into slices about 2/3 inch thick each.

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In the meanwhile…

 

A pack of the mui choy I used (陳年梅乾菜). (“aged dry mustard greens”)

DSCN0818a_800.jpg

 

This is different from the “traditional” one more often used for this dish – which would be whole plants of mustard, preserved/pickled w/ salt (+ a little sugar) or sugar (+ a little salt), and would be “wetter” and either much saltier or sweeter (depending on the variety) and would require more extensive soaking.

 

These “aged dry” greens were swished briefly in a bowl of room temperature /lukewarm water just to loosen up the mass and to get rid of (most of) any residual grit, then drained in a colander.  Mixed with some of an earlier batch of these greens that had been soaked for much longer in water and which had resulted in almost all the flavor being leached out into the now brown (and tasty) water.  Squeezed lightly, then chopped up further.  Pan-fried/sautéed w/ chopped smashed garlic, finely chopped ginger and finely chopped shallots (a fair bit) in part of the pan residues (which also contained rendered lard) from frying the pork belly pieces, diluted w/ some canola oil.  (The mustard greens went in last, of course)

 

No picture, sorry.  Forgot to take one.

 

 

Also in the meanwhile…

 

A sauce/marinade was made:  Several cubes of white preserved beancurd in sesame oil (麻油白腐乳) were mushed up and gently “fried” in a little peanut oil then quenched w/ a mixture of Shaohsing wine (a fair bit), oyster sauce, yellow rock sugar, light soy sauce [i used Pearl River Superior], dark soy sauce [i used Yuet Heung Yuen], one cinnamon stick, about a dozen whole cloves, two whole star anise, some whole fennel seeds, a couple pieces of dried tangerine peel (陳皮), a few thin slices of ginger, a generous knife-blade-end’s-worth of five spice powder; followed by about two cups or so of warm water.  Simmered (partly covered) for a while to develop flavor and to blend.  The sauce is salty-tangy with a *definite* sweetness to it.

 

 

Pic of: 1) the chopped garlic, shallots and ginger used for frying with the rinsed mustard greens; and 2) of the sauce/marinade in the pan on the stove after everything had just been combined (before simmering to blend):

DSCN0782a_600.jpg  DSCN0780a_600.jpg

 

 

Assembly:

Pork belly slices, skin-side down, into a pyrex bowl; arranged side-by-side with two shorter slices “capping” the arrayed stack.  The fried mustard greens-shallots-ginger-garlic mixture went onto the pork slices, with some of the mixture worked between each slice and also around the pork belly slices.

DSCN0788a_600.jpg  DSCN0791a_600.jpg

 

The sauce/marinade was poured over the assembly, straining through a tea-strainer sieve.

The whole shebang was steamed for 6+ hours, with the water at a very gentle boil; water replenished as needed.

DSCN0794a_600.jpg  DSCN0796a_600.jpg

 

Plating:  a deep dish was placed over the bowl+contents (removed from the steaming pot, of course) and the whole thing quickly turned over (done over the sink, just in case!) while holding the two parts together firmly. (With a heat pad held on the bottom of the pyrex bowl)

 

Ta-da.

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DSCN0801b_800.jpg

 

 

Eaten with white rice and a Daikon-Chinese mushroom soup. (See the “Dinner” thread for this)

Edited by huiray (log)
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My father (and others of his generation in my family) makes a similar kow yuk dish.  Instead of the preserved vegetable that you have, he (they) use thick-ish slices of taro.  Occasionally, it might be potato.

 

In my family's case, we would only get this for occasions such as Christmas.  My father would tell us how much work was required.  In his case, it usually took him 2-3 days.  I can see why now.

 

For me, it was a slightly acquired taste when I was younger.  I now enjoy it immensely... more so, perhaps because there will be fewer Christmases left to have it...  

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On 3/10/2014 at 0:28 PM, wokkingtall said:

My father (and others of his generation in my family) makes a similar kow yuk dish.  Instead of the preserved vegetable that you have, he (they) use thick-ish slices of taro.  Occasionally, it might be potato.

 

In my family's case, we would only get this for occasions such as Christmas.  My father would tell us how much work was required.  In his case, it usually took him 2-3 days.  I can see why now.

 

For me, it was a slightly acquired taste when I was younger.  I now enjoy it immensely... more so, perhaps because there will be fewer Christmases left to have it...  

 

Heh - yes, the dish does take some effort. There are also, of course, many variations on how exactly to do it and what exactly goes into it.

 

Kow Yuk indeed has two forms - the one with taro yam slices (Wu Tau; 芋頭), which your father and his contemporaries prepare; and the one with preserved mustard greens which I did here. The taro yam version naturally also has variations on its preparation. :-)  I gave some links to both forms in a previous post on another thread here on eG.  I'm glad you enjoy this dish now when you have the opportunity to do so.

Edited by huiray
Corrected/updated link for post commenting on both forms of kow yuk. (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Fried rice with pork belly & stuff.

 

Thinly sliced pork belly, skin removed, frying w/ garlic in pan:

DSCN0910a_800.jpg

 

 

Sliced scallions, large-type green onion/negi, trimmed & cut-up Chinese garlic chive flowers and stalks.

DSCN0911a_800.jpg

 

 

The vegetables went into the pan, several-days-old Basmati rice, seasoned to taste.  Topped w/ freshly deep-fried sliced shallots.

DSCN0915a_800.jpg

 

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Pan-fried spicy pork belly slices.

 

Adapted from this recipe. (Google translation)

 

 

Pork belly slices, about 1/3 inch thick, tossed with ground cumin (quite a bit), ground coriander (some), ground dried hot red chilli powder, red chilli flakes & seeds (hot), several good dashes of light soy sauce, several good pours of Szechuan pepper oil {花椒油; (Rapeseed oil + Szechuan pepper (prickly ash) oil)} [spicy King], a bit of salt.

 

This was left (covered) in the fridge for 1-2 days.

 

Pic after "fluffing up" the mixture:

DSCN0922b_800.jpg

 

 

Warmed back up to room temperature.  Glutinous rice flour added and everything tossed together (by hand; then with wet hands).

DSCN0935a_800.jpg

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The glutinous rice flour used:

DSCN0923b_800.jpg

 

 

Pan-fried (on both sides) using canola oil.

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Drained on paper towels.

Plated with raw sliced Napa cabbage.

DSCN0944a_800.jpg

 

 

Eaten w/ cucumber+scallion pickles, kinpira gobo, white rice.  See the Dinner! thread.

 

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Not really.  I used it because the recipe called for it.  It has been said elsewhere that it "binds" better and is more flexible...  The resulting fried coating is crispy enough and does seem slightly flexible but that may be my imagination.  I suspect regular rice flour would work also, hmm, worth a try.  

 

I used the ground coriander (which is not in the original recipe) to give a sweet note.

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Pork Belly Bak Kut Teh.

 

Bak Kut Teh (肉骨茶), literally "Pork Bone Tea" (in the Hokkien dialect), is a widely-eaten dish in certain parts of Malaysia and Singapore, with lesser consumption in other areas of Malaysia and SE Asia.  Every vendor of BKT will have available, at a minimum, pork spare ribs or meaty pork ribs as meat choices.  The other "meats" that will be widely available include pork belly, pig trotters, pork hocks, pig intestines (large & small), etc.  There are different "styles" of BKT and the Wiki article discusses the broad categories of them; while individual vendors will, aside from the meat(s) selections, may have their "own" idiosyncratic versions and/or hot-pot versions and/or the inclusion of stuff like enoki mushrooms or other mushrooms, Napa cabbage ("wong nga pak"), etc etc.  The rice that is served also may vary from rice cooked in stock w fried shallots and garlic to simple plain white rice, and one or the other kind may be hated or loved by one or another aficionado of BKT. Chinese crullers (油炸鬼; yau4 ja3 gwai2 (Yale) in Cantonese) are also a common accompaniment for BKT, and some folks shun rice in favor of a plate or two of crullers alone. 

 

In Chinese the character "肉" actually means, simply, "meat".  However, in the absence of any modifiers or qualifiers the default meaning when talking about Chinese (and Chinese-type) cuisine is pork, unless the context indicates something else.  (beef would be called "牛肉"; mutton/lamb would be called "羊肉" - as examples)

 

See the Google image set embedded in "肉骨茶" above for examples of this dish.  One will see different combinations of cuts of meat, including pork belly slices of course; in soups of varying darkness and with varying accompaniments. :-)

 

 

I've not infrequently made BKT with pork spare ribs and meaty ribs before.  This time, I made BKT with pork belly and short-cut pork spare ribs; using a selection of herbs in a variation of the Canto-Hoklo style.

 

 

The pork belly strip and the ribs:

DSCN0993a_800.jpg

 

 

These were cut-up into chunks.  The pork belly went into water with two whole heads of garlic and brought towards a simmer.  A selection of herbs were added in, the mixture brought to a boil, then lowered to a brisk simmer.  A little sea salt was added.  Minimal skimming was needed.

 

 

Samples of the herbs and other stuff that went in.  (Somewhat more of the dried roots/shaved rhizomes than shown actually went in)

DSCN1013a_800.jpg

Starting from top left and going clockwise: Angelica sinensis, Codonopsis pilosula Nannf., dried longan meat, Polygonatum odoratum, dried tangerine peel; and sitting on the P. odoratum is a particular sort-of smoked variety (called "lam jou") of big select dates of Ziziphus jujubaSee here for additional info about these herbs &etc.

 

 

Pic of the pot w/ stuff (somewhat blurry, sorry) after the herbs &etc went in:

DSCN0996a_800.jpg

 

 

After simmering (covered) for maybe ½ an hour the pork rib(lets) went in and the mixture simmered maybe 20 min to ½ an hour more.  The spices (see below) then went in, followed by the sauce mixture (dark soy sauce [Yuet Heung Yuen], light soy sauce [Kikkoman], oyster sauce [Lee Kum Kee]) and the mixture simmered (covered for a while more (maybe ½ an hour to 40-45 minutes more.  Abura-age (I used "sushi-age" pouches) each piece cut in half went in towards the end.

 

 

The pork ribs, sauce mix, abura-age:

DSCN0999a_800.jpg

 

 

The spices: cloves, star anise pods, cinnamon sticks, black cardamom (草果):

DSCN0998a_800.jpg

 

 

The completed BKT after resting:

DSCN1002a_800.jpg

 

 

Eaten with cut-up Chinese crullers (reheated/recrisped in the oven), simple stir-fried green cabbage w/ garlic & salt, white rice (Hom Mali).

DSCN1003a_800.jpg

Edited by huiray
Updated eG link (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Pork belly stewed with fresh bamboo shoots, jicama & wood-ear fungus.

 

 

The bamboo shoots, in the sink and after trimming.

DSCN1111a_640.jpg  DSCN1114a_800.jpg

 

 

Pork belly slices, about 1/2 inch thick each, marinated w/ Shaohsing wine, jozo mirin [Morita] & aged soy sauce [Kimlan].

DSCN1115a_800.jpg

 

 

Preserved bean curd & aka miso.

DSCN1118a_600.jpg  DSCN1123a_600.jpg

 

 

Starting from top left: Jicama (peeled, sliced into sticks) (沙葛 in Cantonese; sa1 got3); Wood-ear fungus (rehydrated dried stuff, trimmed); bamboo shoots (sliced into sticks); ginger & garlic.

DSCN1120a_800.jpg

 

 

Ginger & garlic went into the moderately hot pot w/ peanut oil, tossed (spatula) around till aromatic and just beginning to brown.  The marinated pork belly (with all of the marinade) went in next, tossed around.

DSCN1126a_800.jpg

 

 

A slurry (in some water) of the preserved bean curd & miso went in, everything stirred & tossed around.

DSCN1128a_800.jpg

 

 

Cracked white peppercorns, bay leaves plus a star anise pod also tossed in.  Stirred/cooked for a bit.  Water then added.  Stewed/braised (covered, but not a "sealing" lid) for a while; liquid allowed to reduce some.

 

 

The jicama, bamboo shoots & wood-ear fungus then went in the pot.  A bit blurry, sorry.

DSCN1130a_600.jpg

 

 

Simmered/braised down.  Seasoning adjusted.  (NB: The bean curd and miso are high-salt components)

 

 

A portion of the finished dish, eaten with softened skinny rice noodles (meifun). (Yes, it's there, underneath all the stuff)

DSCN1132a_800.jpg

Edited by huiray (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Another pork belly and bamboo shoots dish variation.

 

 

Pork belly chunks and cut-up ginger.

DSCN1193a_800.jpg

 

 

Pork belly sliced up.  Garlic cloves smashed and de-skinned.

Ginger sautéed w/ peanut oil till just browning.  Pork belly slices & smashed (unchopped) garlic added, everything stirred around on medium heat.  Salted.

DSCN1195a_800.jpg

 

 

Water added. Covered, simmered for a while.

 

 

Slender fresh bamboo shoots [Yu Yee brand; 如意牌 小竹筍], rinsed and soaked in water for a while, added to pot.  Simmering continued for a while.  "Soy puffs" [Nature's Soy brand], halved, added in afterwards closer to the end of cooking.

DSCN1205a_600.jpg  DSCN1197a_600.jpg

 

 

Simmered till done and pork belly slices are succulent and skin is meltingly soft.  Seasoning adjusted. 

 

 

Eaten w/ Napa cabbage stir-fried w/ garlic, and white rice.

DSCN1201a_800.jpg

DSCN1199a_800.jpg

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Pork belly & lotus root soup.

 

 

Lotus root segments, scrubbed; sliced pork belly; smashed garlic.

DSCN1253a_800.jpg

 

 

Pork belly slices beimng sautéed w/ the garlic in peanut oil.

DSCN1256a_800.jpg

 

 

Some other stuff that went into the developing soup.

Starting from 11 o'clok and going clockwise: Large Chinese jujubes, honey jujubes (Chinese red jujubes preserved by drying and soaking in honey), dried (& lightly salted) cuttlefish (three of them), dried Goji berries, raw peanuts.

DSCN1258a_800.jpg

 

 

Soup being cooked.  Salting/seasoning adjusted.

DSCN1262a_800.jpg

 

 

Bowl of the finished soup.

DSCN1273a_800.jpg

 

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      If anyone finds more, post 'em!
      So: find yourself a leg of lamb to bone, sharpen your knives, and get ready to update your spice drawer!
    • By Chris Amirault
      Welcome to this second anniversary eGullet Recipe Cook-Off! Click here for the Cook-Off index.
      A click on that index shows that, while the Cook-Offs have ventured throughout the globe, but they've never stopped in Africa. One could say we've passed through -- gumbo, for example, is widely acknowledged to have roots in Africa, among other places. So, for the first Cook-Off rooted in African cuisine, we'll be cooking up mafé, otherwise known as peanut or groundnut stew.
      Mafé is a traditional west African dish that can be found in the kitchens of Senegal and Mali. It's often served with a starch of some sort (rice, most often) to soak up the nutty stew juices, or, alternately, the starch is part of the stew itself, resulting in a drier braise. While there are a few mentions of mafé in eG Forums, there are no discussions of actually preparing it that I can find except this brief post by yours truly. There are a few recipes elsewhere, including this stew-like one and this more braise-y one, both of which are from the Food Network.
      Mafé is a forgiving cold-weather dish, and one that, like most stews, benefits from reheating (read: swell as leftovers). I'm convinced that mafé is one of the great one-pot dishes in global cuisine, built on a solid base of sautéed onions, peanut-thickened stock, and hearty meat. Like other classics such as gumbo, cassoulet, and bibimbap, it affords tremendous variation within those guides; it would be hard to find very many vegetables that haven't made an appearance in a mafé pot somewhere, and there are lots of possibilities concerning herbs and spices. (I like to increase the heat quite a bit with cayenne, which I think plays off the silk of the nut oil just perfectly, for example.)
      Finally, it's a pleasant surprise if you've never had a savory peanut dish before, and kids in particular tend to think it is the bee's knees. The kitchen fills with a heady aroma -- browned onion, ground peanuts -- that's hard to describe and resist.
      So: who's up for mafé?
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