17 March 2009

Chinese Roast Pork

I always wondered how they would make all those different types of meat hanging in the windowsill of a Chinese BBQ shop. My favorite is the roast pork belly. That crispy salted crackling.... humm.. I could munch on those for a whole day and not get bored of it. I always though making it at home would really be out of the question. The type of marinade and the ovens these meats are cook in aren't something found in a small apartment kitchen. The last time I was chatting to my second auntie over the phone, she was preparing dinner, and just happen to be putting a piece of pork belly into oven as we were talking. She happily taught me how to reproduce a homemade version of the roasted pork belly.

The secret she said was to invert the pork overnight in the fridge, and to season it well with a mixed spice, known as 'salted baked chicken powder'. Thats the closest I can translate it to.

The 'inverted' method was somewhat weird.. I did a quick search on google, but didn't find any other recipes which used her method. A lot of recipes I did find called for '5 spice powder'.. but hey.. if my fav auntie says 'salted baked chicken powder'... then chicken powder it is. :)

Chinese Roast Pork
Recipe from my Aunt

  • 3 teaspoons salted baked chicken powder (available at Asian grocery stores)
  • ~400g piece pork belly (sliced lengthwise about 1 1/2 inch thick in width)
  • freshly grounded salt

Dry the pork skin as much as possible. Place the pork onto a shallow baking tray, rub the skin with the salted baked chicken powder and massage the powder into the meat also. Grind a light cover of salt over the skin. Invert the pork upside down on the baking tray and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

Heat the oven to 220C.

Place the pork belly on a roasting rack with the baking tray underneath to catch all the drippings into the oven for about 10 mins. After 10 mins, you should see the skin bubble and turn crispy, turn the heat down to about 180C. Continue to roast for another 15-20 mins. Because the pork belly was sliced into 1 1/2 inch length pieces (for me this meant, slicing it in half lengthwise), the total cooking time required was a bit less.

Remove pork from the oven, and let it rest for about 5 mins. After it has rested, you can cut up the pork into serving\bite size pieces. Just like what they do in the BBQ shops. I found that cutting up the pork was easier with the crackling skin side down on my chopping board. Oh.. and the chicken powder thing does make the pork really tasty.. and the crackling was finger-licking good :)

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