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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Roast pork ( Heo Quay )

I am health conscious but this is a temptation too great to resist!
It used to be that roast pork can be had at any wet markets when I was a child. But with the disappearance of such conveniences now, stalls selling this are hard to find unless you are one of the lucky few who lives in the central business district in Chinatown.

My one and only roast pork supplier in the housing estate is finicky and when the weather acts up would be like our taxi drivers - non contactable. With the monsoon season at our doorstep, it is better to stock up on such essentials. I would not want to be caught in a long-winded rain and leave me bereft of basics such as roast pork. Life is duller when this commodity is not available to go with my noodles/rice/stew/baguette.

This dish, called Heo Quay, is  adapted from "Songs of Sapa" by Luke Nguyen. 

Takes 2 days to make an awesome strip of cackled pork belly.

Get high on the crispy skin

Ingredients :
One strip of pork belly, skin and all

For the skin : ( mix the following )
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp corn starch
1/2 Tsp 5 spice ( more if you fancy stronger tasting meat )
1/2 tsp sea salt flakes

For the meat : ( mix the following )
1 tsp 5 spice powder
1/2 tsp sea salt flakes

1 Tbsp sesame oil for brushing ( day 2 )

Method :
Preparing the belly -
Use a pair of tongs or chopstick contraption to do this without steaming your hands.
In a wide mouth pot of boiling water, scald the skin of the belly.  Do not let the water touch the sides.
When skin is white and has shrunken. Remove pork.
Use a sharp knife to scrape off hair or impurities from the skin.
Pat dry pork belly.

Marinate -
Using a sharp knife, score the skin making criss cross patterns.
Dust the skin with spice seasoning.
Dust the 2 sides with meat seasoning.

Chill belly overnight , wrapped in cling wrap.

The next day ..

Preheat oven to 250C.
Bake the belly, skin side up, for 20 minutes.
Reduce the temperature to 150C.
Bake for another 10 minutes.
Brush the skin with sesame oil.
Bake at 150C for another 35-40 minutes.
Pork belly is ready when juices run clear and skewer can run through the width of the meat.
Cool  the meat to allow the  moisture to be reabsorbed back to the meat , making it moist.

Tip : to keep the meat skin side up during baking, pierce a metal skewer or chopstick through the meat to prop it upright.