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Vanessa’s PORK BELLY BITES WITH GINGER AND CHILI DIPPING SAUCE + SPICED RED WINE VINEGAR SAUCE

I love pork belly, I know its hardly the “healthy cut” but all the juicy fat running through it makes it tender and hard to resist. I have ordered it occasionally at restaurants but more frequently at Canton Cafe  in Kingsland – their crispy pork is a regular feature whenever the family gathers for a no frills feast. Like many restaurant and cafe meals I put pork belly in the ‘too hard’ basket deeming it difficult to get right and easier to buy.

Pork belly in fact couldn’t be easier – the prep is simple, the time factor is pretty much throw it in a low heat oven and leave and the sauces can even be straight out of a jar if you are pushed for time.

Pork belly bites 

What you need

Pork belly – we were supplied with 800g
Olive oil
Salt
2 onions sliced into thick circular disks
Tinfoil

How to make

Preheat oven to 160 degrees

Dry the pork belly with paper towels, especially the skin.

In an oven proof dish line with tin foil so the pork belly can be covered loosely on the sides but keeping the top/fat side free to crisp up.

Layer the onions on the bottom of the tin foil so the belly can be placed on them. (Apparently you can also use apples)

Score the skin – the point of this is so the skin crisps up well and its easy to cut up when its cooked. I scored the skin in even squares about 2cmx2cm.
It was difficult to cut through mainly because my knives weren’t sharp enough. I re-scored it half way through the cooking process which helped. I haven’t tried it but assume a heavy craft knife would do the job well!

Rub the pork belly with oil and salt and place on top of the onions skin side up.

Bake in the oven for 3 hours – DO NOT BASTE

After 3 hours turn the heat up to 200 degrees and bake for a further 20 Min’s, checking regularly to ensure the skin isn’t burning.

I ended up also grilling the skin to ensure it was crispy all over. I covered the bits that had crisped up nicely with tin foil so they didn’t burn.

Cut into cubes and save the juices for the spiced red wine vinegar dipping sauce or make a traditional gravy.

Ginger and chili dipping sauce

What you need

A palm sized chunk of fresh ginger
1 large chili (Add more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 tbsp fish sauce (from Asian supermarkets or Asian section of the supermarket)

How to make

Blitz everything in the food processor
In a saucepan bring to the boil and simmer until it reduces to a sauce like consistency.

Spiced red wine vinegar dipping sauce

What you need

Juices from the pork belly pan
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

How to make

Bring to the boil and simmer until it reduces to a sauce like consistency

Tip

When making the sauces above, taste taste taste and don’t be afraid to add more or other ingredients to suit your taste buds. If its not thickening up it hasn’t had enough time to reduce or you need to add more sugar.

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