My Birthday was on Tuesday which is a working day and more importantly, Simba (our son) had his first interview for his Nursery. So out of sheer sympathy, Sarabi( my wife , who else) planned the lunch on the 7th . Our generation from the family and a very close group of friends with Roasetd Pork Belly with a sweet and sour sticky sauce as the main star was the set up . Incidentally , I got some good gifts and one of them was Hefs Littlle Black book “http://www.amazon.com/Hefs-Little-Black-Book-Hefner/dp/006218430X . Wonder what my friends think of me but I know I will definitely have to keep it away from the reaches of Simba till the time comes when I gift him the same. Sunday afternoon with Roasted Pork belly amongst closest friends and Hugh Hefner can be like a dream come true and thats also when you are slowly approaching the mid life crisis age Mufasa felt happy but things can still go wrong …
Confession – Since the time I started going through food blogs, with my limited coverage I have seen that rarely someone speaks about a failed attempt of making a dish or what can be the possible bloopers . This is one dish which had not come out the way it should have been and the outcome was different from what was desired however the purpose of this post is also to guide people on things not to do while trying out this particular dish . Over to my extremely talented wife –
Roasted Pork Belly with a Sweet and Sour Sticky Sauce
Pork Belly: 1 KG or whatever you like
Soy Sauce: 1 and 1⁄2 tbsp
Worcestershire Sauce: 1 tbsp
Barbeque Sauce: 1 tbsp (optional, if you like the smoky flavour)
Corn Flour for the sauce: 1 and 1⁄2 tsp
In a pan bring to simmer the sugar and the apple juice. Pour in the rest of the ingredients and turn off the heat. Although I have given measured quantities of the ingredients to make the marinade, I usually put in a splash of this and a splash of that. I just follow my heart and instinct and rely on my taste buds to make a sweet and sour marinade.
Wash and clean the pork belly thoroughly and pat it dry. Score the skin properly with a sharp knife. Now turn the pork belly and pierce with your knife on the other side as well. Rub the marinade all over the belly and keep in the refrigerator overnight uncovered.
Place the belly on a wire rack. Place a tray below for any dripping. Roast in the oven for about 2 hours at 180 degrees. After that raise the temperature to 220 and roast for about 10 minutes for that extra crackling. Take the left over marinade and heat in a pan. Add the drippings and fat from the roasted pork. Reduce the sauce. You can add a bit of corn flour to gain the necessary thickness.
One could cut the pork belly into pieces and drizzle sauce over it. However, I used a fork to shred the meat and drizzled some of the sauce over it and placed the rest of the sauce in a small bowl for dipping.
The above is the recipe…..and lots could go wrong, especially for someone who is making a pork belly
Error One: The belly I bought from the butcher was from a pig which was not too fat. I guess a really fat pig will make an excellent cut of belly. Hence when I read various recipes where the roasting time was given at 3 hours and more, it was meant for a fat pig. My pork belly was quite thin. It had a thickness of about one and half inch. And I put it in for roasting for a longer period of time and burnt the sides.
Error Two: The mystery of the great crackling. I must confess I have never eaten a crackling in my life and hence I do not know whether the butcher is supposed to remove the entire skin or are we supposed to cook it with the skin. Is crackling made with the skin or the top layer beneath the skin. I thought the skin was ugly and I asked the butcher to remove the skin. Then I did what needs to be done for a crackling the blasted the oven in the last ten minutes. Result was a burnt top layer. Actually my baby son was also the distraction and I forgot to take a look into the oven. By the time I came back to the kitchen, it was already a disaster.
Although the picture is beautiful and to be honest, it tasted wonderful, I had lost quite a lot of meat cos of the burning. I had guests over for lunch who went gaga over the dish. But only I knew the true story.