NOTE: An updated version of this recipe appears in my cookbook, The Ancestral Table.
What’s there not to love about pork belly? It’s basically just super thick slices of uncured bacon. I’ve seen this cut at our local Asian market for years but didn’t know how to prepare it until I stumbled upon this recipe at Rasa Malaysia, and decided to give it a shot. What resulted was an impressive-looking dish with a crispy, flavorful outside layer and a tender and delicious center.
2-3 lbs pork belly
2 tsp each ground ginger, white pepper, Chinese five spice powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup coconut oil
Place the pork belly in a pot with water and gently boil for 15 minutes. Remove from the water and let sit for another 15 minutes to cool, then pat dry with paper towels.
Rub the powder onto the pork belly in the following order: ginger, five spice, pepper, and salt. Don’t rub the spice on the skin part of the belly.
Refrigerate for at least one hour, overnight if possible.
Pour the oil into a heavy-lidded French/Dutch oven (yet another time that my Le Creuset French oven works perfectly) and place the pork belly inside, skin side down. Cover with the lid and set the stovetop temperature to medium/high (the cover will minimize the massive splattering that is about to ensue). Allow the skin side to fry in the oil for about 3-5 minutes, until browned. Flip the pork belly and sear on each side (including the ends) for about one minute per side.
Remove the pork belly from the oil and set on some paper towels for a couple minutes. Then with a pair of tongs in one hand to hold the meat, make 1″ slices and serve immediately.