Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Recipe: Easy 3-ingredient Chinese roast pork belly (Siew Yuk 烧肉)

When it comes to roasted meat, the Chinese have a few favorites- roast duck, roast chicken and roast pork. In Malaysia, we are fortunate that we can easily find these at hawker stalls hence I never had the urge to make it at home.

The last few weekends, my kids have been requesting for chicken rice with siew yuk for lunch but sometimes the siew yuk that we buy is not to their liking as it can be quite fatty. Wanting to please my kids, I decided that I should try making siew yuk at home.

Chinese roast pork belly (Siew Yuk 烧肉)

Making it yourself means you have full control of the quality and fat:meat ratio. I informed the butcher that I would like a lean(er) piece of pork belly and I was happy with the slab that she chose for me. Ask your butcher to clean the hairs off the meat for you. There are a lot of recipes out there for siew yuk, but the one I am using is my brother's recipe.

To get crispy skin, it is important for the skin to be very dry. After cleaning the pork belly, pat it very dry with a kitchen towel, marinate it and then air-dry it - I just left it under the fan for a few hours. For the marinade, I am using 2 basic ingredients - salt and Chinese five spice powder. You will also need to prick it (like crazy.... the more you prick it the better) using a sharp knife or carving fork or there is even a special tool to do it (a rounded tool with 30+ needles sticking out). I think the carving fork does a really good job.

Before roasting, sprinkle more salt onto the skin - you can use coarse salt and scrape it off later if you have health-concerns. The pork belly is first roasted then put under the hot grill for the skin to crisp up.

Along came the siew yuk.. and there goes my diet...

I am pretty happy with my first attempt on siew yuk. The skin is crispy and the meat is very tender with a good ratio of fats:lean meat. My kids especially loved it and they must have ate a lot, because I made this slab of siew yuk with the intention of having some leftover so I can stir fry it with leeks the next day, but wow, we managed to eat the whole lot that evening itself. I would say this is 95% to perfection, and my goal this year is to perfect it. Watch this space. :)

By the way, siew yuk is popularly served during the reunion dinner (CNY eve) as pork symbolizes strength and wealth. In my family, it is usually offered to the ancestors during the prayers, and then later enjoyed by all at the dinner table.

A short video on making siew yuk

Chinese roast pork belly (Siew Yuk 燒肉)
Recipe by Baby Sumo
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 60-70 minutes
Serves 4-5

1.3kg pork belly
2-3 tsp sea salt
1 tsp five spice powder

To serve
Homemade chilli sauce

1. Wash the pork belly and pat it VERY dry with kitchen towel.

2. Using a sharp knife, lightly score the pork belly skin-side. The lines should be diagonal and around an inch apart from one another.

Rub all over with salt and five spice powder

3. Rub 2 tsp of salt and 1 tsp five spice powder all over the meat. Using a carving fork, prick the skin all over, the more holes you make the better. Place the pork belly on a wire rack under a fan for about 2 hours to dry.

4.Preheat the oven to 200°C and set to roast mode. Rub 1 tsp salt on the skin, and place the pork belly on a wire rack with a tray underneath to catch the drippings into the preheated oven (in the centre of the oven). Roast for 20-25 minutes.

After roasting for abt 20 mins, this is how it looks like

5. Change the oven setting to grill mode 230°C and cook for another 40-45 minutes until the crackling is golden brown and crispy. At this point the skins hisses and crackles and should look "bumpy". If there are any burnt bits, just scrape it off using a sharp knife.

6. Remove the roasted pork belly from the oven and allow to rest for about 10 minutes, then chop with a meat cleaver into bite-size pieces.

The skin will crisp up once you put it under the grill

Nice and crispy

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  1. Wah ..... don't be like that ! I got a soft spot for siew yuk !

  2. No only your kids, I am not a fan of roast pork bought from outside. They were too dry, fatty and salty. Making this is pretty easy.

  3. My family loves this pork dish! And that's great that it is only three ingredients too! :D

  4. This looks succulent...and easy, too!

  5. We love siew yoke! We just had the siew yoke fan last weekend, yum yum!

  6. Yen , don't tempt me lol Your siew yuk looks DROOL-WORTHY ! It looks as good as the ones they're selling here :D Two thumbs up !

  7. WAH looks amazing! (And now I'm craving siew yuk, oh dear) Must bookmark this to try at home one day! :D

  8. this is drop-dead gorgeous! easily the best-looking siew yok I've seen in ages, and very probably the best-tasting too! :D

  9. Despite i'm not a fan of pork but your home made siew yok looks awesome!

  10. What a gorgeous Siew Yok you have !
    Very tempting!

  11. Wow! Awesome ! Will definitely try this out ASAP ! Looks sooooo good! It's been agaes since I had siew yok !


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