Sticky Pork Belly

2:31 am on 6 September 2008


  • 1 pork belly approx 1-1.5kg

Marinade ingredients

  • ½ cup light soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
  • 3 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp tomato sauce
  • 3 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 tsp five spice powder
  • 1 Tbsp approx fresh grated ginger
  • Juice of 2-3 lemons or 3 Tbsp dry sherry or white wine vinegar


Combine marinade ingredients and pour over pork belly. Leave approx 6-12 hours. Place belly in roasting pan with marinade and add about 1 cup of water. Roast pork 150ºC about 2 hours until tender. Check frequently adding extra water should the marinade start drying out and caramelising in the pan.

When pork is tender increase oven temperature to 250ºC to crackle pork. Watch carefully as this may only take 5-7 minutes and it may happen before the oven even reaches that high temperature. The sugar content of the marinade means the pork will burn easily. 

Remove pork from oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile pour juice into a bowl. Leave to sit and then remove any fat that has accumulated on the surface (and feed to the birds). Carve the pork in generous slices. Serve over rice or noodles accompanied by the rich flavoured jus.

A simple hot rice salad is a good accompaniment to the pork. I cooked a cup of Uncle Ben's long grain rice (which I always find very accommodating), rinsed it in hot water, and left it to drain for a few minutes. The rice was then tossed with a little olive oil, lemon juice, freshly ground black pepper and I then added 4 finely chopped spring onions, a tablespoon of julienned fresh ginger and a handful of fresh mint leaves.

At our London lunch Chris served her pork with udon noodles combined with sautéed oyster mushrooms, sliced spring onions and lots of fresh coriander. This was then tossed with vinaigrette made from 3 tablespoons peanut oil, 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, 2 tablespoons fish sauce and the juice of 2-3 limes. 

As a further accompaniment Chris made a crisp textured salad from sliced radish, julienned daikon, cucumber, and carrot combined with sliced spring onion and coriander. Again this salad was tossed in vinaigrette dressing.

We had this pork belly as a lunch but you could easily serve it for dinner. In this case I would suggest as accompaniment garlic mashed potatoes or slow roasted buttered parsnips. Serve with cabbage lightly sautéed in oil flavoured with 1 finely chopped and seeded chilli and 3 finely sliced cloves of garlic. Finish with the juice of a couple of lemons. I prefer to use savoy cabbage for this dish.

Another thought would be blanched silverbeet, again tossed in olive oil flavoured with chilli and garlic. Silverbeet is a very underrated vegetable. I think the most satisfactory way of cooking it is to strip the beet from the white centre rib, slice roughly and blanch in boiling water, then refresh in cold water. Drain well and then use as desired. Some people prefer to slice the silverbeet finely and steam for 30 seconds. Silverbeet when finely sliced also makes a great addition to a spring salad.

From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan

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