I don't often eat pork, but when I do, it's often pork belly, hands down the best bit of the pig. Would bacon taste as good made with anything else? A slab of belly with the perfect balance of fat layers and lean meat cooks beautifully tender and juicy without falling apart, or shrivelling to a strip of stringy fibres, so it's best to avoid either too fatty or too lean a piece.
The less you do to pork belly, the better. My favourite ways are either to braise it as above, simmer in a south east Asian style curry as in the previous post, or roast it to a crackling crisp in a blistering oven. Pure, piggy heaven!
Unlike many other meats, like chicken, fish, beef, and most notoriously, turkey, unless it's excessively lean, you need never worry that pork will cook up dry and stringy. And few other meats taste as naturally rich and savoury. I don't need any more convincing, do you?
Prep 20 mins Cook 1 hr Serves 4
6 large strips pork belly
2 handfuls of thickly sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
4 tbsp low sodium light soy sauce
2 tsps granulated dashi stock (optional - substitute with 1 tsp each salt and sugar)
200 ml (1 cup) water
half a small yam bean (jicama or turnip) thickly peeled and cut into thick batons
Combine everything but yam bean in a pot. Cover pot and simmer until pork is tender but not falling apart.
Add yam bean and simmer until batons are tender but still have a slight crunch when bitten.
Dish out and serve with rice and sambal belacan or sliced chillies in dark soy sauce if desired.