Saturday, November 26, 2011

soy braised pork belly with yam bean

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.


  1. I don't know if you still find canned belly pork. It's terribly oily but delicious especially cooked with boey chai. You are making me a little homesick with all these food. I do make kong tai eu bak every now and then but I use lean sirloin chops. Can't find belly pork in the regular grocery stores as they are all made into bacon. Need to go to the Asian market to get a piece soon for my precious boey chai carted all the way from the kidding!

  2. Oops! Sorry my dear. Definitely not my intention, but glad to know these posts evoke thoughts of home :) They still do sell the canned pork belly (so right about all that heart clogging oil!) and it is nice, once in a while, with plain muay but I prefer to cook it myself so I can control the oil and salt. So sad, but getting longer in the tooth, means we can't recklessly slurp all that deliciously evil fat anymore, can we? *sigh* Hope your market search proves fruitful!


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