One of my favourite Chinese restaurant dishes, probably of all time, is crispy belly pork. I’ve seen fairly complicated ways of preparing it. I’ve heard someone say that you had to hold up the piece of belly pork and bathe the skin side with heated oil. Another version said you bathed it with boiling water. All these instructions sort of turned me off even attempting to make crispy belly pork.
Mind you, I made a fairly good roasted pork joint and made amazing crackling, if I do say so myself! It’s very simple. Take a pork shoulder joint, pre-heat oven to 200 ºC, score the skin, rub salt and pepper and pop it into the oven for at least 1 hour and 45 minutes. To make perfect crackling (and this is faffing about really, but the crackling turns out so crackingly beautiful and that makes the faffing about absolutely worth it!), after cooking the pork, take off the skin and cook for a further 30 minutes at about 220 ºC. Considering my success with roasting pork and making crackling successfully, you’d think I wouldn’t be afraid of making crispy belly pork. But I’ve had really good crispy belly pork from my favourite Chinese and I didn’t want to make it and be disappointed in something I’d prepared!
A few weeks ago, one of my friends shared a Youtube video with me. I share a lot of my baking photos on Facebook so people know I love to bake. Cecile, my friend from Manila, said I should take a break from baking sweet things and attempt the belly pork recipe. I watched the video maybe 5 times to work up the courage to attempt it. But attempt it, I did.
I followed the video instructions but used a Stanley knife to score the skin instead of using skewers. Also, I found that when I first checked on the skin it wasn’t crispy enough so I cooked it for a further 25 minutes. The skin came out so well that I had to record for posterity how crispy it was. I posted the video on Instagram because I was really pleased with myself!