Move over sweet and sour, swicy is the new kid on the flavour sensation block. A match made in heaven for all things pork, we have paired a Chinese-style crispy pork belly (guaranteed crispy every time) with a swicy pineapple salsa for a ‘can I have some more please’ share plate.
For the pork
- 1.2kg piece pork belly (choose one with an even thickness and good layers of evenly distributed fat)
- 15ml Shaoxing wine
- 1 teaspoon five spice powder
- 1 teaspoon ground fennel
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 20ml rice vinegar
- 150g rock salt
For the salsa
- 500g sweet ripe pineapple, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 40ml dark rum
- 20ml lime juice
- 15ml soy sauce
- 2 bird’s eye chillies, finely chopped
- 1 eschalot, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander, stems and roots
- 3 tablespoons ground toasted jasmine rice
- 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, roasted and ground
1. To prep the pork
Lay the pork belly skin side down, drizzle the Shaoxing wine over the meat making sure you don’t get any on the skin. Mix the five spice, fennel, salt and sugar. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the meat, massaging it thoroughly into the meat.
Turn the pork skin side up, working systematically using a small sharp skewer, prick the skin all over, creating as many holes as possible. You are aiming to prick the skin but not to go deeply into the fat layer, especially taking care not to penetrate the flesh (you risk releasing juices that will prevent the skin from crackling). Wipe the skin dry, transfer to a tray and refrigerate for 12-24 hours to allow the skin to dry out.
2. To make the salsa
Toss the pineapple with 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar, spread onto a tray, and use a blow torch to caramelise. For the dressing add the rum, lime juice, soy sauce, chilli, eschalot and remaining brown sugar to a small pan over a medium heat, bring to the boil, stir to dissolve the sugar, remove from the heat and set aside. Add the caramelised pineapple to the rum dressing, mix gently. Set aside until needed. Just before serving, stir through the fresh coriander.
3. To make the Sichuan ground rice
Mix the ground toasted rice and the Sichuan powder (increase the amount of Sichuan pepper to taste).
4. To cook the pork and serve
Pre heat the oven to 180˚C.
Lay two pieces of foil over a baking sheet, place the pork in the centre and form a foil box around it, rising about 3cm above the pork (the aim is to protect the meat from the rock salt). Brush the pork with the rice vinegar and carefully spread the rock salt evenly over the top. Roast for 1 hour. Remove from the oven, open out the foil and scrape off the salt, lift the pork from foil (discard foil and salt), wipe the surface with a clean dry cloth and return to the baking tray. Turn on the grill to a medium heat. Put the pork under the grill (no closer than 25cm from the heat), the skin will begin to puff up, grill until crisp and golden, this will take about 10-15 minutes. (Note: when a suitable grill isn’t available, the skin can be crisped up in a hot oven with the meat wrapped in foil).
Cut into desired serving sizes and serve with the swicy roasted pineapple salsa and the Sichuan ground rice.