Fragrant Pork with Garlic Sauce 蒜泥白肉 - AFF Taiwan Aug 2014

I'm sure many people are familiar with Din Tai Fung restaurant 鼎泰豐 from Taiwan, famous for its Xiao Long Bao soup dumpling 小笼包. Most of the time people would focus mainly on the Xiao Long Bao, handmade noodles, fried rice etc, but there's one dish listed under "Appetizers" called 蒜泥白肉 (Fragrant Pork with Garlic Sauce) which I quite enjoy probably coz I love pork belly. 蒜泥 is minced garlic sauce and 白肉 is plain pork.

The garlic sauce is the main star here else it would not be called 蒜泥白肉. There are many variations to the preparation of this sauce; so I experimented by putting together quite an extensive list of ingredients and came up with my own sauce. Feel free to omit or add on any ingredients.

As for the meat, instead of just cooking/boiling the pork belly for 30 mins directly, I used a more tedious method of boiling the meat, off heat and then boil again, total of 5 times or till meat is cooked. I learnt from a cooking show that this method of cooking makes the meat more succulent.


At Din Tai Fung, the pork belly is sliced very thinly and wrapped around a cucumber stick and drizzled with the garlic sauce. Since my knife skill isn't up to par, I tried to slice the meat as thin as I could, around 2-3mm. Instead of simply serving with normal cucumber sticks, I sliced the cucumber into wafer-thin strips using a fruit peeler and rolled them up. Same goes for the carrot.


I chilled the meat and cucumber/carrot relish to make the dish more refreshing. The meat was moist and bouncy and oh-so-tasty with the sauce. The rolled-up cucumber/carrots were surprisingly refreshing and crisp, much tastier than if I were to cut them into slices or sticks. I must say the relish is an important enhancement to the whole dish as the meat and sauce itself is quite overwhelming to the palate.

Overall, quite an easy dish to prepare at home, this recipe is a keeper :)


Fragrant Pork with Garlic Sauce 蒜泥白肉

Ingredients
  • 550g pork belly
  • 3 slices young ginger
  • 1 stalk spring onion
  • 1 tbsp cooking wine
  • 2L water (or enough water to cover 2 inches above pork belly)
  • Cucumber and carrot relish (slice thinly using fruit peeler)
Steps
  1. Place pork belly, ginger, spring onion, cooking wine and water in a pot (covered). Bring to boil.
  2. Off heat for 5 mins.
  3. On heat and bring to boil again.
  4. Repeat steps (2) and (3) for 5 times.
  5. The pork belly should be fully cooked. To check, poke a chopstick into the centre of the meat, if juice runs clear, the pork is cooked. Else, repeat steps (2) and (3) one or two more times.
  6. Slice pork into 2mm thin slices and serve with garlic sauce. The dish could be served chilled or room temperature.
  7. Unused pork belly should be soaked in the brine water until ready to use to avoid drying.


Homemade Garlic Sauce 蒜泥醬汁

Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp premium dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soya sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp chilli oil
  • 1 tsp Gochugaru Korean red chilli pepper flakes or Sichuan red chilli pepper
  • 1 stalk spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery root (root part only, finely minced)
  • Parsley for garnish
Steps
  1. Heat up 2 tbsp of chicken stock in a small pan. Remove pan from heat once hot.
  2. Add garlic, ginger, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, sugar, oyster sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, chilli oil and chilli pepper flakes and mix well till sugar is fully dissolved.
  3. Stir in spring onion and celery root. Garnish with parsley.


I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest #10 Aug 2014 : Taiwan hosted by travelling-foodies.


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