Crispy Asian Pork Belly

Crispy Asian Pork Belly

Crispy Asian Pork Belly

One of the treats I miss giving up is the crispy salted pork belly at the hole-in-the-wall cookery inside the Chinese supermarket. Like all Asian takeaways, it’s not safe since the soy allergy was diagnosed. Instead. I made my own and it is both delicious and free of all major allergens.

Ingredients

Liquid marinade

  • 3/4c Chinese cooking rice wine
  • 1T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 1/2T coconut amino acids
  • 1T lemon juice (or 1 lime)
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves (sliced)
  • 1 sliced red chilli
  • 1 tsp Chinese Five Spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 250 ml water

Everything else

  • 1-2 brown onions (cut into wedges)
  • Pork Belly
  • Neutral Oil (i.e. Rice Bran Oil)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Water (added at intervals during cooking)

Allergies: gluten free, soy free, dairy free, egg free, nut free

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 220’C.
  2. In a big roasting pan, mix up the liquid marinade.
  3. Cut the onion(s) into wedges and place in a line in the pan. There needs to be enough onion to cut as a support for the pork belly. It will help to moisten the meat and also act as a structural support to keep the crackling raised up out of the jus.
  4. Prepare the pork belly. You will need a very sharp knife in order to score it; I like doing a diamond pattern. This is important not only for helping it to cook but also for cutting it up later in order to serve! Dry the pork belly, apply a little oil over the top, then rub in salt. Crack some pepper over the top as well (if desired).
  5. Place the pork belly onto the foundation of onions (with the fat on top).
  6. Cook at 220’c for 30-40 minutes or until the rind has crackled.
  7. Add 1/2c water to the liquid in the bottom of the pan. Reduce oven heat to 160’C and cook for another hour.
  8. Add 1/2c water to the liquid in the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking at 160’C for approximately another 60 minutes or until the pork is very tender.
  9. Reserve some of the juices to drizzle over the pork when serving. Consider serving with Asian greens and steamed rice. (I chopped up bitter leafy Asian greens and lightly braised them in the marinade before serving as a side dish with the onion, chilli, garlic etc.).

 

 

Mu Shu Pork – Chow Mein – Chop Suey all from one basic recipe!

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Mu Shu Pork

I came across this recipe by Cybele Pascal  in a chapter of her allergy friendly cookbook about making takeaways at home. I haven’t heard of Mu Shu Pork before but apparently it’s a popular takeaway in the United States and based on a stir-fry dish made in northern China and eaten rolled in small pancakes rather than over rice. This recipe has a few adjustments (such as not including soy sauce or egg) in order to make it free of the top 8 allergies. The recipe is also very similar to how we make Chow Mein in New Zealand, it’s all about what you serve it with!

Mu Shu Pork: Serve with Chinese pancakes (delicious scallion pancakes can be picked up from the freezer section of most Asian supermarkets) OR use rice paper wraps OR use gluten free wraps or corn tortillas. *Food allergies mean getting a little inventive! I’ve used both rice paper (like making summer rolls) and gluten free wraps; both are delicious.

Chop Suey: Serve over rice. Consider garnishing with crunchy crispy Chinese noodles (from the snack section of the supermarket).

Chow Mein: Serve with noodles. You can cook with glass noodles (mungbean or rice vermicelli) or with thick egg noodles. Consider garnishing with crunchy crispy Chinese noodles (from the snack section of the supermarket).

Ingredients:

Stir Fry Sauce

  • 1/2 chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2T coconut amino acids (or soy sauce)
  • 2T neutral oil (i.e, rice bran oil)
  • 1T rice vinegar
  • 1T cornstarch, or tapioca starch, or superfine white rice flour
  • 1 tsp honey

Stir Fry

  • 1T neutral oil (i.e, rice bran oil)
  • 400-500g pork mince (ground pork)
  • 1c red onion, finely diced
  • 2T minced or grated ginger (or 2tsp ground ginger)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1c thinly chopped shiitake mushrooms
    • Can also use wood-ear mushroom or substitute in a local mushroom. Note: you can often buy dried shiitake mushrooms more cheaply than fresh; they’ll need 30 mins or so to soak in water before using.
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3c shredded cabbage
  • 100g snow peas, sliced into thin vertical slivers
    • I subbed green runner beans.
  • 1c grated carrot
  • 1-2 green onions (spring onion), white and green parts, chopped.

Plum sauce (optional dipping sauce)

  • 1c plum jam
  • 1/2tsp garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tsp ginger, minced or grated
  • 2T cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1T Sriracha or other chile-garlic sauce

Allergies: gluten free, soy free, dairy free, egg free, nut free.

Directions – Mu Shu Pork

  1. Mix up the stir fry sauce.
    • Tip: Put into a jar or small sealed container; put on the lid and shake until the honey and tapioca starch have dissolved.
  2. Heat the oil over high heat in a non-stick wok or frying pan.
  3. Add the pork, onion, and ginger. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes until the pork is no longer pink and the onion is tender. Break up the pork with a spoon so that the mince is nicely crumbled.Add the garlic, mushrooms, and salt; cook for 5 minutes until the mushrooms start to brown.
  4. Add the cabbage, snow peas, carrot, and spring onions. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the stir-fry sauce and stir. Cook for 3 minutes.
  6. Serve with chinese pancakes / rice paper wrappers / tortillas.

 

Directions – Plum Sauce

  1. Combine all ingredients in a pot and bring to a simmer over a high heat. Reduce to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Let cool to room temperature and then puree in a blender.
  3. Makes about 1 cup that can be stored covered in the fridge for several weeks.

Roast Pork Sirloin

Ingredients

  • Pork Sirloin roast
  • 4 crushed garlic cloves
  • 4 tsp chopped fresh rosemary / 2 tsp dried
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Optional: potatoes, carrots, zucchini etc. to roast.

Allergies: soy free, egg free, peanut free, dairy free, gluten free.

Directions

  • Prepare any vegetables that you want to roast. Personally, I used potatoes, carrots, and zucchini. I was useless at cooking potatoes and avoided doing so (using kumara instead) until I learned the trick of parboiling them (or similar). I chop them up and put them in the steamer in the microwave for about 10 minutes to give them a bit of a head start before placing them in the roasting pan.  You can brush the veggies lightly with olive oil before placing the pork on top – they just need a touch to keep from drying out before the fat from the pork starts to drip out.
  • Mix the garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper together. Moisten with a dash of olive oil. Rub it all over the pork.  Optional: I’m told that if you like garlic, you can also cut small slits in the pork fat and stick whole garlic cloves in to get some yummy roast garlic.
  • Place the fat side down. Place it on top of the potatoes etc. if you have any in the pan.
    • NOTE: I was rather puzzled when I read the initial recipe I was using as my pork roast was rolled and tied with string – it had fat all over! I shrugged and just chose a side to face up. Turns out this was an error (check out the photos below). If your roast is rolled up, cut the string and lay it flat with the fat facing the bottom of the pan. One end will be thicker as this cut is basically pork sirloin chops + pork belly.
  • Cook at 200’C for 30mins.
  • Check on the veggies and turn the roast over so that the fat is now on top. Roast for 25 mins.
  • Remove and stand for 10 minutes.

So… I’d never cooked one of these before and the rolled pork did seem to resemble the photo I saw on the internet. I didn’t realize that the string was supposed to be cut and the meat lay flat so the cooking (and learning) process took much longer than expected. My main concern was that the pork would dry out (a near thing!) so I was doing a lot of checking and basting towards the end. I also began to appreciate why some of my friends have a meat thermometer rather than needing to slice into the meat to check.

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I steam my potatoes in the microwave for about 10 mins before putting in the roasting pan.

Oops – I put the pork in rolled up (as it came). The veggies cooked but the pork was still pink when I unrolled it. All I’d managed to do in an hour was to start cooking the fat on each side of the roll!

Rolling it out flat the meat and fat finally began to cook. After another 30 mins at 200’C there was definitely progress. By this point I was hungry and decided to speed things along.

I trimmed off the fat (just leaving a thin layer to provide moisture). I cooked it for about 20 mins at 180’C (basting regularly) and then grilled it to brown the thin layer of fat.

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All turned out well in the end with a good collection of roast pork.

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The fat I continued to cook to make crackling. The rendered fat and juices can be made into gravy or you can collect the fat as lard. Lard can be used for lots of things, for instance frying potatoes.

Excess roast pork can be frozen and kept for later meals such as pork fried rice or making pizza.

Grilled pork with strawberry balsamic glaze


This is a great way to use strawberries that are still fresh but a little bruised. It’s also nice to use them in a savoury dish for a change – especially if you’ve been eating lots after going strawberry picking! It met with toddler approval 🙂

This recipe does create rather more dishes than I’d normally prefer so is best if both mother and child are feeling happy, healthy, and relaxed. If you’re looking for a last minute quick and easy meal when you’re both feeling tired or stressed then I suggest Welsh Rarebit.

Ingredients

  • 400-500g pork to oven grill (i.e. pork chops, sirloin steak, tenderloin etc.)
  • Bacon strips (optional)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1/3c balsamic vinegar
  • 2/3c sliced strawberries
  • Salt and pepper
  • Potatoes (optional)

Allergies: soy free, dairy free, gluten free, egg free, nut free.

Directions

  1. I served this dish with roast potatoes so I started with those knowing they would take the longest to cook. My preference is to cut the potatoes and pre-cook them in a microwave steamer. Then place them in a roasting dish lined with baking paper and baste with a little olive oil.
  2. Take the pork and sear at a high heat for 1-2 minutes on each side.
    • The purpose of this is to help seal moisture into the pork so it’s worth taking the time for the extra step.
  3. Place pork in the roasting dish with the potatoes. Wrap the pork in the bacon strips. The bacon isn’t essential to the recipe but if you happen to have it then it’s a tasty addition! I’ve read recipes that suggest the bacon also helps the pork to retain it’s moisture (but mainly it’s tasty).
  4. Bake the pork at 180’C for 30 mins.
  5. While the pork is cooking start on the strawberry glaze.
    • In a pot (or glass Pyrex jug) heat olive oil and garlic.
    • Add balsamic vinegar and 1/3c strawberries (reserve the rest of the strawberries).
    • Bring to the boil. Then simmer for 10 mins (stirring occasionally).
    • Add salt and pepper to taste.
    • Add remaining 1/3c strawberries.
  6. Baste the pork and then grill till the bacon is crispy. (I flipped it and grilled it on both sides).
  7. Serve with remaining strawberry sauce, roast potatoes, and greens. Freshly picked basil also goes well if you happen to be growing some on the windowsill.

Allergy: Egg free, peanut free, dairy free, soy free.

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