Before I started dating Mr. D, I had a peculiar way of eating pork belly. I would first separate the pork belly into little segments: the meat, the fat, and the skin. Then, I would throw away the fat layer and sometimes including the skin too if I couldn’t separate it from the fat properly. I am very sure that when I did that, it was not for health reasons but for some strange reason I assumed that the fat tasted horrible. When Mr. D witnessed what I did, he was dumbfounded and gave me a weird look as if I’ve committed a serious crime. Then, he said that I totally missed the whole point of eating a pork belly. It was kind of hilarious now that I think back (Hehe!). Since then, slowly I begin to discover the incredible tastiness of melt-in-my-mouth fats. It’s just sinfully delicious. Now, a plate of juicy and tender siew yuk with crispy crackling skin will put me on cloud nine. (´ ▽｀).。ｏ♡
When cooking siew yuk, it’s important to get good crackling skin as if it’s not crackled completely, the skin will be tough and chewy. The tricks of getting crispy crackling skin are to dry the skin, prick holes on the skin to render the fat, and grill the skin for a few minutes in the oven at the end to blister the skin. The marinade for the meat consists of five spice powder, nam yee, garlic, sugar and salt. I suggest that you try to source the best five spice powder possible as it does make a difference to siew yuk taste. My favorite would be the popular Pok Aun Thong’s five spice powder from Penang. It has a deep red color and I found that it’s more fragrant than the other brands that I had tried thus far. Unfortunately, they don’t export their products so whenever I go back to my hometown, I would bring a few packets over to Australia.
Nam yee is a red fermented bean curd which is a must have ingredient for siew yuk marinade. Fermented bean curd is basically preserved tofu soaked in flavored brine and is usually used as a condiment in congee, porridge, braised dishes or vegetable stir-fries. Red fermented bean curd incorporates red yeast rice with brining liquor giving it red color. Nam yee is used a lot in meat dishes as it’s very aromatic and flavorful.
Sinful yet irresistible.
Marinade for the meat.
Rub the marinade into the meat portion only and leave it in the fridge uncovered for at least 30 min.
Remove the burnt bits using a serrated knife.
Siew Yuk (Chinese Roast Pork) (Serves 5) (Modified from Piggy’s Cooking Journal)
- 1 kg pork belly with skin
- 2 tbsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 3 1/2 tsp table salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 pieces nam yee (red fermented bean curd)
- 1/2 tbs five spice powder
- 1 tbs crushed garlic
- Rinse pork belly and pat dry with paper towel. Rub the all over the skin with sea salt. Then, turn to the meat portion and score the inner portion of the meat.
- Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Rub marinade mixture evenly into the meat. Marinade it for at least 30 min in the fridge uncovered in the fridge to dry out the skin.
- Remove the pork belly from the fridge and pat it dry to remove any remaining moisture. Bake the marinated pork belly skin-side up in a pre-heated oven at 220 °C for 20 min.
- Remove from oven. Using a bamboo skewer, prick all over the surface of the skin. Brush the pork skin with white vinegar.
- Bake with skin-side up at 250 °C for further 30-40 minutes, or until pop-up bubbles have formed the surface. If the skin have not completely crackled, put it under the grill for another 8-10 min. Do not worry about the slightly burnt bits as they can be easily removed using a serrated knife.
- Remove the pork belly from the oven and let the meat rest for at least 15 min. Cut into pieces and serve.