I have such a weakness for crackling! But really… who doesn’t? This is Ken Hom’s recipe for Chinese roast pork from his book Chinese Cookery. If I’m short of time, I won’t bother with the steps that involve pouring hot water over the rind and then hanging the meat to dry. Instead, I’ll just put the dry rub on the pork and roast it like I would with a Western style roast pork.
I generally serve my roast pork with spring onion oil (which just involves 2 sliced spring onions and about a 1/4 tsp salt covered with canola oil and stuck in the microwave on high for about 30 seconds – then you just stir it) and chilli oil/sauce, rice and stir fried bak choy.
Chinese roast pork
1.5 kg boneless pork belly, with rind
For the marinade:
4 Tbsp coarse sea salt
2 Tbsp Sichuan peppercorns, roasted and freshly ground
2 tsp freshly ground five-spice powder
1 Tbsp sugar
Pierce the rind side of pork with a sharp fork or knife until the skin is covered with find holes. Insert a meat hook into the meat to secure it. Bring a pot of water to a boil and using a large ladle, pour the hot water over the rind side of the pork several times. Set the pork belly aside.
Heat a wok or large frying pan until it is very hot. Add the salt, peppercorns, five-spice and sugar and stir-fry for 3 minutes until it is hot and well mixed. Allow the mixture to cool slightly. When it is warm enough to handle, rub the mixture on the flesh side of the pork. Hang the meat to dry for 8 hours or overnight in a cool place or in front of a fan.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Place the pork on a rack, rind side up, over a tray of water. Roast for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 180 degrees Celsius and continue to roast for 2 hours. Increase the heat to 230 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes. Remove the pork from the oven and leave it to cool. Carve it into bite-size pieces, arrange on a serving platter and serve.