Crispy Roast Pork Belly ‘Tacos’

Submitted by David Ke


About the cook: Born in China, raised in the US. Grew up loving food from elementary school until college. Loved food even more when I started cooking after moving out. Studied engineering at UC Davis, graduated, and have been working as an engineer, and have been cooking the whole way. Through cooking movies, food shows, experimenting with ingredients, or trying new food often, I get my food interest in one way or another.

About the dish: A unctuously rich pork belly balanced with a crisp, bright herb salad over a scallion pancake. Although from start to finish the dish will take 4 hours, over 3 and a half hours are occupied by pre-roasting the pork belly, making this dish incredibly fast to make for family or friends. This dish is incredibly welcome at parties or dinners as a novel finger food, and celebrates a combination of my favorite things that my mom made -- an homage to my childhood comfort foods with a healthy twist.



National Origin: Chinese

Serves: 4

Estimated Time: Over 2 Hours

Ingredients:

1 lb skinless, fat-on pork belly
Soy sauce
Sesame oil
Mirin
Hoisin (optional)
Salt, pepper, paprika
4 stalks green onion
Knob of ginger
2 clove star anise
1 lime


Salad:
Mint, cilantro, apple, arugula, cucumber

Scallion pancake:
Flour, corn flour, 1 egg, 2 stalks green onion, vegetable oil

Preparation:

Precook pork belly:
Season pork belly by rubbing salt, pepper, and paprika on both fat and lean side, massaging seasoning into the product.
Roast pork belly in an oven at 205F for 4-6 hours (until internal temperature is about 200F). Chill and reserve condensed juices.

Dressing and glaze:
Jullienned 2 stalks of green onion, thinly jullienned bulb of ginger, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 tbsp sesame oil, juice of 1/2 lime, 1/4 cup mirin (rough values, adjust to taste), can also add hoisin for more body. Mix.

Crisping belly:
Portion pork belly into blocks (1.5in x .5in). Score fat into the lean meat. Season fat with salt.
Add reserved pork fat and juices into pan. Crisp pork belly on medium-high heat, fat side down. Continue until fat takes on dark brown color and becomes crispy. Turn onto side (or with lean side down), and add liquid from glaze (described above), approx 2 tbsp for 4 pcs pork belly, turning heat medium-low. Continue cooking until sauce thickens to a sauce. Serve.

Scallion pancake:
Finely chop 1-2 stalks green onion.
Mix 1/2 cup flour, 1 tbsp corn flour, optional slash of milk, 1tsp vegetable oil in bowl, adding green onion last.
On a pan oiled with vegetable-sesame oil mix (lightly oil), cook the pancake by pouring batter on thin layer of oil, spreading until a thin disc ~4-5 inches across. Cook until brown and toasted, flip and cook similarly on other side.

Apple and herb salad:
Slice apple into ~1.5 inch, very thin slices
Slice cucumber into similar shape
Add juice from last 1/2 lime
Add salt, pepper, and sesame oil to taste
Roughly chop mint and cilantro
Add 1/4 cup each, to taste

To serve, I suggest either creating a taco with every ingredient, OR serving pork belly over scallion pancake, accompanied by salad/with salad between bites to cut the rich taste of the glazed pork.

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