The closest chinese roast meat shop is 30 mins of driving away. To get our roast pork fix, we have to plan ahead and go on weekends.
There has to be a better way, I thought to myself. So I decided that I will make my own!
- 2kg pork belly
- 3 tablespoon five spice powder
- 1 tablespoon white pepper
- 3 tablespoon shaoxhing wine
- 1 cup salt (coarse or table, i used a mixture)
- Wash and use paper towels to dry the pork belly.
- Make some horizontal slits on the skin side of the pork.
- Rub the meat side with wine, the five spice and white pepper powder.
- Flip meat over and brush skin with some white vinegar.
- Leave overnight to dry in fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180c, arrange a pan on the bottom 1/3 of oven rack and fill with water. Line a roast pan with foil and place the pork belly on a rack that fits this pan.
- Layer the top of the pork belly with the salt evenly.
- Place the pork belly at the bottom 1/3 of the oven and bake for 1 hour.
- Bake until the salt crust forms, the salt should be hardened. Check water in the pan below and add if needed.
- Remove the pork belly from the oven, pull off the salt crust and discard.
- Raise the heat of oven to 465f/240c, place the pork belly back in and roast for another 30 to 40 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let set for 10 minutes. Cut and serve immediately with some chilli sauce and hoisin sauce, or eat as is.
You should have left overs for lunch. What I really mean is you should make enough so that there are left overs, afterall you are going to have the oven on for an hour, so might as well make use of all that heat!
You can use the roasted pork belly in soup noodles, fried rice and stir fry dishes. I had them with some steamed baos for lunch the other day and they were soooo good. 😋
On our recent trip to Melbourne, Australia, we came across many bakeries and stores selling traditional Vietnamese sandwiches – Bánh Mì. These are the result of French and Vietnamese cuisines coming together, and boy, what a glorious effort.
Bánh mì sandwiches are different to the normal western sandwiches. The bread is crunchy on the outside and pillowy inside, serving as a light encasement for the delicious fillings inside. More on that later.
While watching our sandwiches being made, I duly noted what was included – the ingredients all play a part in achieving the balance of sweet, sour, savoury, spicy, umami, warm, cold, softness and crunch. That’s a lot achieved in one sandwich.
Here are the list of ingredients for you to create your very own bánh mì!
- Bread – choose a light bread with pillowy centre and light crusty crumb. (J’s wanted to make sure I mention not to get bread that is so crunchy that it scrapes the roof of your mouth. Coz that will hurt. Noted, darling 😊) Baguettes or Ficelle from Paneton French Bakery would be my choice (in New Zealand).
- Mayo – adds a creamy flavour to the sandwich.
- Pate – this is essential to any good Bánh Mì, giving it the umami flavour.
- Cucumber – Cucumber adds freshness and crunch, juxtaposing the other soft elements of the sandwich. Slice them lengthwise for even layering.
- Herbs – for freshness and an earthiness, coriander leaves and sliced spring onions are added. I would also suggest Thai basil as well, if you wish.
- Pickles – this is a must! Easy to make: 1:1.5 ratio of white or apple cider vinegar to caster sugar to fill to just over half of a glass jar. Warm jar and sugar slightly in microwave to dissolve the sugar. While it is cooling, sprinkle a bit of salt over thin batons of carrots/daikon/rings of onions. Massage and squeeze the carrots the diakon (no need for the onions) to get rid of their juices. Pat dry and add to the cooled jar of pickling liquid. Ready to use in just an hour.
- Protein – you have lots of choices here: vietnamese ham, lemongrass pork or beef, grilled pork, chinese BBQ pork, chinese roast pork or even grilled tofu. Champagne ham works too if there is nothing else!
- Sauce – You can add squirts of hoisin sauce or Maggi Seasoning for extra flavour. For me, a good grind of black pepper was enough.
- Fresh Red Chillies – a spicy element is a must and thinly sliced red chillies are commonly added to taste.
- Fried shallots for extra crunch.
- Add more meat if you wish.
- Close the sandwich and enjoy!