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Pork Belly a la Ezard: Peanut and yellow bean dressing, apple salad - Thu, 9th Apr 2009
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Teage Ezard does a ripper of a pork belly. I found a rip-off of it online, and tried to get a little closer to the original. Still not there yet, but pretty bloody good all the same... Be prepared for some serious shopping before you cook this: the ingredient list is a mile long!

500ml Shao Xing (Chinese cooking) wine 100ml light soy
2 tbsp brown sugar 1/2 head (typically 10-12 cloves) garlic, peeled and smashed under a kinfe
1.5" piece ginger, peeled and chopped 2 cinnamon sticks, broken
6 star anise 6 cardamom pods, cracked
salt, white pepper 1kg Pork belly (female if available)
500ml vegetable or peanut oil, for frying  
2 cloves garlic, peeled 1 red birds eye chilli
4 tbsp roasted unsalted peanuts 1 green long chilli
3 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped 150 kecap manis
200 ml rice vinegar 3 tbsp yellow beam paste (available from chinese grocers)
1-2 tbsp tamarind paste 3-4 tbsp brown sugar
50ml water  
couple shots Stone's green ginger wine juice of 1 lemon
2" piece Daikon radish, chopped into pieces 5mm x 5mm by ~2" 1/2 red onion, VERY finely sliced
2 tbsp grated palm sugar 2 green apples, peeled, and chopped into pieces like the Daikon
1 long red chilli, seeded and finely chopped lengthways 1" piece ginger, peeled and grated
handful Thai basil and Vietnamese mint, finely chopped  

As soon as you get the pork belly home, store it in the fridge with the skin exposed: this will help it dry out and make good crackling. A couple of days in advance, prep the marinade: Combine all the marinade ingredients except the oil, stir until the sugar dissolves, then place the pork belly skin-side-up in it and leave uncovered in the fridge for 24-48 hours. If you can't do 48 hrs, grind a little salt over the skin to help it dry.

When it comes to cooking day, start with the dressing: Combine the solids and grind to a paste in a mortar and pestle, adding a little peanut oil if necessary to get a smooth consistency. Place in a saucepan with the remaining ingredients and simmer for about 15mins to let the flavours combine.

Heat the grying oil in a parge pan or work to about 180C (I really have no idea if this is how hot it was, as I don't have a frying thermometer, but basically, you want it to sizzle pretty hard when you add the pork, so cut off a few small bits of pork skin and use them as testing pieces). Strain the marinade, reserve the liquid and discard the solids. Add the pork to the oil, skin side down and fry until bubbles form in the skin (about 5 mins). Turn and fry on the other sides for a minute or so each. Transfer to a baking dish (skin side up) and pour around the liquid from the marinade. Bake in an 150C oven for 1.5 hours.

To make the salad, combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl, leaving the apples to last. Be sure to immediately coat the apples in the lemon juice/wine mix to prevent them from turning brown. Once the pork is done, plate a little of each and enjoy. I matched this with something rather unusual: an unoaked cabernet from Gralyn Estate in Margaret River: the fruit in the wine matched realy well.


Edit: After visiting Attica earlier this year, I stole an idea and added a green apple sorbet to the salad, which gave a great texture. To make the sorbet, combine 2 tbsp caster sugar with 2 peeled and chopped green apples and tbsp green ginger wine in a blender and puree. Add one whipped egg white and freeze until it can just be sliced with a knife. Remove, chop and re-blend, adding another whipped egg white. Freeze to granita consistency and then mix through the salad just before serving.
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