Braised Pork Belly

Braised Pork with Udon Noodles & Spring onion & Black Vinegar Dressing


What is it about braised pork?  I love it but I guess it is because I grew up with it.  In Filipino cooking, braised pork is a norm, like in adobo or sinigang, a dish cooked in tangy clear broth seasoned with tamarind juice, a dish so clean in flavours, light and not too “porky”.  Seriously, you can braise pork and drink the juice!?!?  Think about it, you wouldn’t drink the juice off a roast pork now would you?

I have cooked braised pork many times but every time I cook pork using this method, I always get people saying how much they dislike the texture.  It always confuses me.  The meat is so soft and tender, with that layer wonderful gelatinous skin.  It tastes cleaner, the texture is more tender, juicier and tastes less greasier than roasting or frying. To me it’s like a protein “blank canvass” with all the goodness of meat ready to be dressed with what ever flavour you want it to be.

For all of you who think braised pork is not for you, please try this, at least just once, you’ll get what I mean.  You won’t lose out, if you don’t like it, you can still have the noodles with “fried” pig bits so you can still have the pork grease fix.  Leave out the braised pork belly and you sill have a wonderful salad.

Photo by Jun Pang

For the Pork:

1tblspn White Vinegar

1bunch Spring Onion                            washed

200gr Ginger                                       peeled, sliced in smaller bits

300ml Chinese Cooking Wine

2litres Water

1.5kg Pork Belly

For the Sauce:

1/4cup Peanut Oil

4tblspn Garlic                                      finely chopped

1 Bunch Spring Onion                          finely sliced

4tblspn Pun Chun Vinegar Sauce           Pun Chun is the brand

5tblspn Pun Chun Black Vinegar            Pun Chun is the brand

3tblspn Chilli Oil

6tblspn Light Soy                                 Kikkoman

For the Salad:

2tblspn Peanut Oil

300gr Pork Mince

4tblspn Vinegar Sauce

4tblspn Light Soy                                 Kikkoman

1x500gr pkt Udon Noodles

1bunch Chinese Spinach                       roots cut off


For the Pork:

  1. Place the white vinegar, spring onion, ginger, Chinese cooking wine and water in large pot and bring to boil then simmer for 20 minutes
  2. Add the pork belly and braise for 1.5-2 hours on low heat or until it is soft and tender
  3. Once tender, turn the heat off and allow to cool in the stock, this way it won’t dry out as it cools
  4. Once cool enough to handle, portion into desired serve sizes.  As the picture suggest, cut a cube and then slice it into smaller peices

For the Sauce:

  1. Place a small sauce pan on medium heat and add the peanut oil and garlic then cook, stirring continuously until golden brown, about 15 miutes
  2. Off the heat, add the spring onion and stir continuously until it is slightly cooled down
  3. Add the vinegar sauce, black vinegar, chili and light soy in the pan, taste for balance and seasoning

For the Salad:

  1. Heat up a large heavy based pan on high heat until almost smoking hot
  2. Add the peanut oil and heat for 30 seconds then seal the pork mince until brown
  3. Off the heat, add vinegar sauce and light soy, stir through
  4. Blanch the noodles in boiling water for 2 minutes then place in a bowl with the spinach
  5. Add the mince into the bowl and stir through the noodles and spinach then divide equally into 6 plate
  6. Slice the pork and divide into 6 serves, placing a serve on each plat of noodles.
  7. Sauce the pork on top and serve

Photo by Jun Pang

Black Vinegar – Inky black vinegar made from rice, wheat and millet and it is usually used in Chinese stir fries, sauces and braises.  It has a slight malt flavour similar to balsamic but a lot lighter in vinegar tones

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