There's currently a magazine talk-show called Ladies' Nite on Channel U hosted by TCS artistes Michelle Chong and Vivian Lai every Tuesday night, which talks about trends and tips on beauty, fashion, health, fitness as well as cooking. In the latest episode, I was deeply captivated by one of the recipes featured, Roast Pork with Spicy Caramel Apple. It looked so yummy that all I could think of the next few days was this dish! We'll forget about our promise to cut down on fats and bad cholesterol temporarily okay :p
The recipe called for 2kg of pork belly which is a huge slab of meat! So I cut down the portion by half and even then, we couldn't possibly finish 1kg of meat between the 2 of us. Well, we could always keep the leftovers for stir fry veg with roast pork or roast pork, cabbage and tofu pot.
The method of cooking is a little different from my previous attempt, the chef actually baked the pork belly in a water bath (together with some onion, carrot, cinnamon stick and star anise). I guess this would probably make the pork more succulent and juicy? The chef also recommended scoring the skin with a pen knife which I found it to be quite difficult as the skin was so tough (Psst... should I invest in a pricking tool :p). The amount of salt used was alarming as well, but was supposedly required to make the skin crispy.
Tadah! My roast pork belly all ready to be eaten! The skin was really crispy but too salty! Probably I should have tried to scrap off some salt before eating? Or use less salt? Would that affect the crispiness of the skin? Or probably get a proper pricking tool so that I could use less salt? Anyways, the meat was juicy and succulent as it absorbed the flavours from the onion, carrot and spices well.
Here's the recipe based on half portion. Original recipe can be found in the Ladies' Nite website.
Roast pork with Spicy Caramel Apples
- 1 kg pork belly
- 1 tbsp salt (The recipe stated not to cut down the amount as it helps to make the skin crispy but I really found it too salty after using this amount)
- 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1/2 tsp five spice powder
- 1 clove garlic minced
- Score the skin with a pen knife, you can also use a pricking tool if you have one.
- Rub salt all over the skin. Mix the remaining ingredients together and rub it on the meat side only.
- Leave it uncovered in the fridge overnight to marinate.
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp salt (again, the salt is important as it makes the skin crispy)
- 2 cloves of garlic crushed (I didn't reduce amount for this)
- 1 star anise (I didn't reduce amount for this)
- 1 quill cinnamon bark (I didn't reduce amount for this)
- 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped (I didn't reduce amount for this)
- 1 carrot, coarsely chopped (I didn't reduce amount for this)
- Remove the pork from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 mins (fridge very cold). Rub the oil and salt into the skin.
- Use a deep roasting tray or oven proof container that fit the belly almost exactly. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, star anise and cinnamon to the tray. Place the pork on top and add enough water until the meat is covered, be careful not to cover the skin and fat layer.
- Roast at 200°C for 90 mins. Depending on the size of the meat, it may need another 30 minutes. (I roasted the meat for another 20 mins). Let the meat rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving.
- 2.5 green apples, cut into wedges Green apples are tart which is great with the sweet caramel
- 1/8 cup butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- Melt the butter with the sugar, adding a few drops of water if necessary.
- Add the apple wedges and cook on moderately high fire until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally otherwise will be overcooked.