Here is one of Spice Temple’s classic dishes that I think is perfect for summer, served with rice and perhaps some steamed Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce (page 399). The pork itself is easy to cook – just remember to allow a day or two beforehand for the skin to dry out – and it has many uses. By the same token, the red onion, coriander and peanut salad is great with, say, the meat from a store-bought roast chook, shredded off the bone and tossed through, to make a super-quick dish for a busy weekend.
1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) pork belly
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
½ spring onion (scallion), thinly sliced
Large handful of roughly chopped coriander (cilantro), leaves and stalks
Handful of unsalted peanuts, toasted in a dry frying pan and crushed
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted in a dry frying pan
1½ tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
2 teaspoons peanut oil
Place the pork belly on a wire rack set over a plate (to catch any drips) and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least a day to dry the skin out; 2 days would be even better.
Remove the pork from the fridge about 3 hours before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F).
Put the pork belly on a chopping board. Using a sharp knife, score the skin deeply in a diamond pattern and rub generously with salt. Return the pork belly to its wire rack and place in a roasting tin.
Roast the pork for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 170°C (325°F) and roast for a further 20 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through and the skin is blistered and crispy.
Remove the pork from the oven, cover with foil and set aside in a warm place to rest for 20 minutes.
Cut the pork belly into 2 cm (¾ inch) cubes. Place all the remaining ingredients in a bowl and toss together, then add the pork and mix through. Divide between four plates and serve.
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Everything I Love to Cook by Neil Perry
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