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Crackling Pork Belly with Sweet Hoisin Sauce and Pickled Vegetables

Serves 4
  • Steps
  • Ingredients

Steps

  • Preheat oven to 220C. Fill and turn deep fryer on to 180C.
  • For the Five Spice Blend, combine all ingredients in a small food processor or spice grinder and blitz to a fine powder. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
  • For the Pork Belly, score the pork skin then cut the pork into quarters. Rub the Five Spice Blend onto all sides of the pork belly pieces, except for the skin. Generously rub salt into the skin on each piece. Transfer pork pieces, skin side up, to a tray lined with baking paper and bake in the oven until cooked through and crisp on top, about 50-55 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, for the Nuoc Cham Sauce, mix water and palm sugar in a medium bowl until dissolved. Add remaining ingredients and mix well to combine. Adjust seasoning to taste with additional fish sauce or lime juice if desired.
  • For the Eggplants, pierce the eggplants with a fork. Place eggplants onto a paper lined tray and into the oven to roast until brown on the outside and soft on the inside, about 40 minutes. Mix oil and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  • For the Pickling Vegetables, trim baby cucumbers then roll cut each into 4 pieces. Cut the continental cucumber in half lengthways and remove seeds. Use a vegetable peeler to peel cucumber ribbons. Remove the stems from 4 of the radishes and cut into quarters. Leave the remaining radishes whole. Add all vegetables into the Nuoc Cham Sauce, making sure they are all fully submerged in the sauce, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate until needed.
  • For the Onions, peel and cut onions in half lengthways. Heat oil in a small frypan over high heat. Add onions to the pan, cut side down, and cook until deep brown in colour. Transfer to the oven until the inner layers have softened, about 15-20 minutes.
  • For the Hoisin Sauce, place all ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Set aside.
  • For the Lotus Root Chips, use a mandolin to thinly slice the root and pat the slices dry with paper towel. Working in batches, deep fry at 180C until golden and crisp. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towel then sprinkle with salt flakes and set aside.
  • Remove onions and eggplant from the oven and allow to cool. Cut the eggplants down the centre from the base to just before the stem, open the eggplant and brush with salt and oil mixture. Peel the onions into individual layers. Take whole Radishes out of Nuoc Cham Sauce and slice into thin rounds.
  • To serve, smear two tablespoons of Hoisin Sauce onto the serving plate. Place a piece of Pork belly on top of the smear. Assemble Pickled Vegetables around the pork belly and along the smear, place onion layers on top and leaning against the pickles. Place Lotus Root Chips standing up along the hoisin sauce. Place two Eggplants to the side of the plate not touching the other elements. Garnish with thinly sliced spring onions, coriander leaves and garlic flowers.

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