Crispy Chinese pork
- 1¾ lbs pork belly
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp five spice powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1⁄3 cup coarse salt
Fried savoy cabbage
- 11⁄3 lbs savoy cabbage or green cabbage
- 2 oz. butter
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp Szechuan pepper
- salt and ground black pepper
- Pat the pork belly dry with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.
- Place it, skin side up, on a cutting board. Score the skin finely using a sharp knife. Try to cut through only the skin, not the fat or meat. Make cuts no more than 1⁄5 of an inch (0.5 cm) apart. This takes time but will make the skin bubbly and crispy like pork rinds.
- Brush the meat, not the skin, with vinegar and pat in the seasonings.
- Place the pork, skin side up, on a piece of oven-proof aluminum foil. Fold the sides of the foil up, covering the edges of the pork, to make a border. Leave the top of the pork belly uncovered.
- Place the package in a baking dish and place the dish, uncovered, in the fridge for 12 hours (preferably overnight). This dries the skin and helps it crisp in the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Cover the skin with a thick layer of coarse salt. Place in the lower part of the oven and cook for about an hour or until a meat thermometer placed in the middle shows 160°F (80°C).
- Take the pork out of the oven and remove the foil but save the rendered fat and juices. Scrape the salt from the skin, and return uncovered pork to the dish. Switch the oven to its broiler setting, and place the pork under the broiler. Cook for another 20-30 minutes or until the skin is golden brown, crisp and bubbly. Remove from oven and let the meat rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
- Prepare the cabbage — rinse, trim and chop coarsely.
- Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter and/or the rendered pork fat.
- Smash the garlic and add to the pan along with the cabbage.
- Fry until golden brown around the edges, stirring often. Add vinegar and seasoning towards the end.
If you can’t find a Szechuan pepper you can substitute a mix of red pepper flakes, lemon pepper and cardamom. Use equal parts of each.