The Chinese are famous for crisp and delicious Roasted Pork Belly slabs. Often sliced into small dainty chunks and served as an accompaniment to rice, curry noodles and even on it's own. Ipoh (my hometown) is blessed with a couple of excellent siew yook makers; often butchers by profession.How do you distinguish a good piece of roast pork from mediocre ones?
I usually look out for these outstanding criteria;
The top layer of skin has to be crackling and crisp, The layers of fat and meat in between should be of equal thickness and evenly distributed, and it should of course taste good ;); not too overpowering in flavour.Mom did pretty well in my opinion.
I would love to be able to give everyone exact proportions to making Chinese roast pork, but unfortunately; every piece of pork belly is different and we all have different hands and different *salt rubbing techniques* Haha. I guess the best advice I could give would be to practice, practice.. practice...
I doubt there are any shortcuts to getting better at cooking. I learnt the hard way myself. *tear*
- Buy a slab of pork belly, preferably with a good proportion of layered fat and meat. A piece with completely no fat at all will probably turn out a little too dry.
- Pound the meat with the back of a cleaver for a couple of seconds, flip it over, make 45 degree angle slits across the slab of red-ish meat.
- Use a sharp pointed utensil and pierce many tiny holes on the skin layer on top. Mom used an chisel, but there are probably quicker and more convenient alternatives. No; a fork isn't quite sharp enough. Careful with the fingers....mom was making me nervous just watching! *laughs*
- Rub coarse salt generously over the pierced skin
- Rub and massage salt, five spice powder + a dash of sugar on the bottom surface of the belly. Ratio of salt to five spice powder would be approximately [Salt(2) : Five spice powder(1)]
- Roast in the middle shelf of your roasting oven (on highest temperature) till golden, crisp, crackling and smelling absolutely pork-ishly divine~. Should take about 30-45 minutes. Be prepared for lots and lots of cleaning from the splatter of oil in the oven *not fun* :(
- If possible, buy pork from a Chinese butcher, and tell him that you intend to make *siew yuk* that usually helps as he cuts the meat and picks the best slabs for you.
- Slice up with a thick cleaver and serve piping hot. My family and I had it in large chunks (caveman style~!!) *grin* more to chew on *wink*