Blisters Never Looked This Good

I've always thought frying was the best method to use when making crispy pork belly; that cooking it in the oven would yield a skin where some parts, if not all, are tough and chewy.

I, of little faith.

Roasting it in the oven not only resulted in an evenly crispy, blistered skin but also a juicy, tender meat.  Plus, no oil was used so it's healthier than deep frying it by, um, about 2%.  It takes time to prepare this dish but totally worth it.

Crispy Pork Belly recipe (adapted from BBC Food Recipes):

3/4 kg - 1 kg boneless pork belly, with rind
2 Tbsp. coarse salt
1 Tbsp. ground Sichuan peppercorns
1 tsp. ground white pepper
1 Tbsp. five-spice powder
1 Tbsp. sugar

1.  Pierce the rind side of pork with a sharp knife until the skin is covered with fine holes.

2.  Bring a large pan of water to a boil and, using a large ladle, pour the hot water over the rind side of the pork several times.  This is best done placing the pork on a rack and tilting it above the sink.  Set pork belly aside.

3.  Heat a pan until it is hot, then add the salt, both peppers, five spice powder and sugar and stir-fry the mixture for three minutes.  Allow mixture to cool slightly.

4.  When the mixture is cool enough to handle, rub it into the flesh side of the pork.  Place the meat on a wire rack set about a roasting pan and allow it to dry uncovered for eight hours or overnight in a cool place (refrigerator or in front of a fan.)

5.  Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.  Place pork on a wire rack, rind side up, over a deep roasting pan filled about 1/3 with water and roast for 20 minutes.

6.  Reduce the heat to 180C/350F and continue to roast for 2 hours.  Turn the oven back up to 230C/450C and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, until skin is blistered and crispy.  Remove from the oven and allow the pork to cool.

Egg Fried Rice recipe (BBC Food Recipes):

2 cups cooked leftover rice
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
2 Tbsp spring onions, thinly sliced

1.  Mix the eggs, sesame oil and a pinch of salt in a small bowl and set aside.

2.  Heat large frying pan over high heat until it is hot.  Add the vegetable or canola oil and when it is very hot and slightly smoking add the cooked rice and stir-fry for 3 minutes or until it is thoroughly warmed through.

3.  Drizzle the egg mixture over the rice and continue to stir-fry until the eggs have set and the mixture is dried.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, then toss in the spring onions.


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