Food and cooking, Lifestyle

Cracking roast pork belly with sticky candy sweet chilli sauce

So I’ve been so lazy lately, resting on my laurels… Once I completed my last uni assessment for the semester, my brain kind of imploded into a smushy, gooey mess – rendering me unable to write anything worth reading.  So I gave myself a bit of a break.

Mother’s Day was yesterday.  It has become somewhat bittersweet for me. On one hand, I desperately wanted to just sit in the moment and enjoy time with my little family, but the my grief over the huge missing piece for the day for me (ie MY mum who I lost 3 years ago) hung like a dark storm cloud over my head the whole day.  Hopefully one day, I will be able to sit back and enjoy Mother’s Day as celebrated for ME, but in reality I’m afraid to admit that I really struggled yesterday to hold my heart together.

BUT today is a new day.  The Paeds in a Pod North Lakes team (ie my private practice) is hosting a GP education evening up on the Sunshine Coast at the Rumba Resort tonight and I am really looking forward to it.  I really enjoy delivering educational talks, but it is always so nice to sit back and learn stuff from other paediatricians.

Today my goal for the day is to write a food blog for the week and a medical post – whether I publish it today or next Monday depends on what time I get it finished.  I also want to go and visit my dad today too.

 

So I made this dinner last week.  Some of you may have seen pics on my Instagram (@drmeggsiecooks) but I held off on publishing on the blog until I could write up my recipe/review.  This is not an original recipe.  It is based on a Donna Hay recipe I saw on her “Basics to Brilliance” show on the food channel.  Find the original recipe here.

Critique:  I liked this recipe but there are a few things I would change for next time.

Firstly I have to put it out there… I tried Donna Hay’s method of roasting pork belly to get crunchy crackling… and I must say although I did get crackling, it,

  1. …wasn’t as crackly as MY own pork belly roasting method (find the method here:  http://www.kids-health.guru/cracking-pork-crackling/ )
  2. …dried out the pork belly meat too much – to the point that the bottom layer of the pork belly was so dry that I couldn’t eat it. Which is a shame

Secondly I felt that the sticky sweet chilli sauce was a fabulous idea, but I found it a little TOO sweet and not nearly hot enough for my liking.  It would be a great chilli sauce for those of you out there who don’t like spice, or even for kids because there was pretty much no heat in it at all.  Next time, I would probably:

  • cut back on the sugar quantity
  • soften the garlic and ginger in a little bit of oil first until aromatic before adding to the sugar syrup
  • make the sauce hotter with the addition of a birds-eye chilli to the mix
  • possibly thicken the sauce a little with a little bit of corn starch (because it would be less sticky with less sugar)
  • season it with salt and pepper

Anyway, enough of my ranting, here is the recipe.  As is, I’d give it 3 stars/5.  I reckon I could make it a 5/5 though with the alterations suggested above.

 

INGREDIENTS

Pork and sides

  1. A nice big piece of crispy pork belly (this time I did 1.5kg for 4 people). I work on about 400g uncooked pork belly per person.  This is generous (I always worry that if I have no leftovers after the meal, it means everyone hasn’t had enough to eat) – remember, the pork belly does shrink down as it is roasted and the piece will look much smaller once it is cooked.  See my recipe.
  2. Olive oil (or canola/vegetable oil)
  3. Sea salt for rubbing
  4. 3 bunches of broccolini (or the original recipe called for 6 baby bok choy – I’m not so keen on bok choy, but hey, whatever floats-your-boat!)
  5. Steamed jasmine rice to serve

Caramelised sweet chilli sauce

  1. 2 long chillies cut into long strips (add birdseye chillies if you prefer more heat)
  2. 1 cup of white granulated sugar
  3. 1/4 cup (60mL) of fish sauce
  4. 1/4 cup (60mL)  water
  5. 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
  6. 2-3 cloves of garlic
  7. 1 tbs rice wine vinegar

METHOD

  1. Prepare the crispy pork as per basic recipe. Allow to rest for 10-15 min before cutting.  Chop into 3-4cm cubes for serving.
  2. Time the rice to finish at the same time as the pork (I know my rice cooker takes about 30 min to cook the rice and the pork takes about 2 hours total)
  3. Prepare the broccolini by placing in a heat proof bowl/container and pouring boiling water over it and allowing to sit for 5 min.  Rinse off in cold water and set aside.
  4. After you put the rice on to cook, start preparing your CHILLI SAUCE:   Place the sugar in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and heat.  Do not stir, but swirl the pan occasionally until all the sugar has melted (takes about 8-10 min).
  5. Remove sugar from the heat and carefully add the fish sauce and water, and stir until combined.
  6. Return to medium heat, add the ginger, garlic and chilli (in retrospect, I would have fried the garlic and chilli in a little bit of oil prior until aromatic and softened, but not browned) and bring to a simmer.
  7. Simmer for 5-8 minutes or until thickened and syrupy.  Remove from the heat and add the vinegar, stirring to combine.
  8. Divide the pork, rice and broccolini between serving bowls and pour over chilli sauce. Top with a sprig of coriander as garnish.

 

As I said, I really do think this dish has potential… but there are a few things I would do to tweak the recipe before I’d be completely happy with it.

I will be trying it again!!

Until next time – happy cooking!

xxDr Megs

 

 

 

 

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