The first time I cooked this dish was with my husband on a visit back to my parents’ house in the UK. Cooking up a family feast of Thai curry, salads, rice and this delicious sticky pork number, we spent all day filling up the kitchen with spicy smells, sending unprepared kitchen visitors into coughing fits as the hot frying chilies hit the backs of their unsuspecting throats!
This sticky pork recipe, however, was not the spicy culprit and won out the feast by some margin. The whole family gathered round the dinner table and alongside one or two (ok, it was closer to 5 or 6) bottles of wine we sat and scoffed platefuls of fresh crab salad, mouth burning Massaman curry and sticky rice. Fond memories! I don’t know how fussed some family members were with the chili factor but plates were clean and leftovers minimal.
You’ll be hard pressed to put any pork aside for the rest of the week’s leftover meals because it’s so moreish.
Serves: 2 with leftovers or 4-6 without.
Prep time: 3.5 hours
CLICK HERE to see this recipe as part of a meal plan.
1 kg pork belly
1 cup orange juice
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
6 cardamom pods
6 slices ginger
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 red chillies
Ground black pepper
1 large lime
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 cloves garlic
3 spring onions
1/2 white radish
Handful Thai basil
1 cup glutinous rice
First soak the sticky rice – it needs to soak in cold water for a minimum of 2 hours.
Rub salt and a little olive oil into the skin of the pork belly. Cook in preheated oven on 120C for 3 hours until the fat has rendered from the meat. Rest for at least half an hour.
*IF COOKING FOR TWO AND/OR FOLLOWING THE WEEKLY PORK MEAL PLAN, CUT THE BELLY IN HALF AND PLACE IN THE FRIDGE FOR LEFTOVERS DISHES.
While the pork is resting, rinse the rice and cook over a low heat, lid on, with 2 cup of boiling water and a pinch of salt for 15-20 minutes or until the water has been absorbed. Rest the rice for 10 minutes after it’s finished cooking with the lid on.
In a heavy based pan, add sugar and water over high heat until the edges begin to bubble and turn golden. Add orange juice, spices, ginger, fish sauce and pepper and simmer on medium heat until the sauce begins to thicken.
Slice the rested pork belly into bite sized cubes. Place in the sauce and continue to simmer gently until the pork becomes dark and the sauce is thick and sticky.
To make the salad, thinly slice (or grate) the radish and carrot and place in a large bowl with finely sliced spring onions and the chopped herbs. Crush garlic in a mortar and pestle and add fish sauce and lime juice, combine well before pouring over the salad. You want the dressing to be nice and sour to balance the sweetness of the pork.
Add extra fresh chili to the salad for a really spicy hit.
Shredded wombok, red cabbage, green mango, green papaya, fried shallots, dried shrimp would all make interesting variations on the salad.
Noodles instead of rice.
Limy, minty cocktails or an ice cold beer.