Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Recipe: Steamed Chinese Style Pork Belly with Rice

I just love Chinese food. My favourite dish is number 27. – Clement Atlee, former British Prime Minister

2 ingredients. Can you get any simpler?
I’m always one to accept food advice from people of other cultures. If you remember my post for chinese sausage you know the story of how I was told that one by an elderly Chinese woman who ran an Asian grocery. You wouldn’t want to give a customer bad food advice, would you?

This is the stuff. It even looks "promising."
Well this one comes from the owner of my local grocery, the Ca Hoa. It is run by a couple of Vietnamese Chinese descent and has goodies – fresh, frozen and dried – from all corners of Asia and beyond. I have been going to this particular grocery for in excess of 20 years. It’s a great place. I’ve watched their children grow up.

One day recently as I was checking out at the cash my husband picked up a vacuum packed item and said “Look at this.” He had something in his hand that was dark and shrivelled looking. In an Asian grocery that’s visual code for “very interesting.”

It turned out to be Chinese Style Pork Belly. No sooner had he lifted it in the air than the owner started to offer a recipe on how to cook it. He’s seen us buy some pretty weird stuff (by Caucasian standards), so he knew it was a safe bet we’d go for it.

Just so you know, Chinese Style Pork Belly is heavy on sugar and soy. The flavour is kind of like Chinese style sausages. I’m assuming because they’re both pork and rely on many of the same ingredients for flavour.

The recipe he told us was simplicity itself. I had seen him eating it while working the cash on at least one occasion and wondered what it was. Just cut up the pork belly, place it in a pot with rice, add water and cook as you usually would. Piece of cake. 

So we bought it.

I have to say for a two ingredient meal it was very satisfying. The flavour of the pork belly permeates the rice and the meat steams and plumps as it all cooks.

Of course he didn’t volunteer any quantities so we had to wing it, but it all turned out well. The pork belly is sold by weight, so you’ll have to judge how much you’ll need to feed however many will be at your table, and cook the quantity of rice for that many as well. 

Here’s how I did it.

Steamed Chinese Style Pork Belly with Rice
Prep: 5 min  |  Cook: 20 min  |  Serves 2
1 lb pork belly (was enough for 2)
1-1/2 cups rice
3 cups water (2 water to 1 rice)
1/2 tsp salt

Chop the pork belly into 1/4 inch thick pieces. Place the rice, water and salt in a saucepan with a well fitting lid.

Throw (that’s what I did) the pork belly on top, cover and bring to a boil.

Once the pot comes to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. At the end of the 15 minutes remove from the heat and let sit for 5 more.

Serve. That's all you do.


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