Assam Braised Pork Belly: Tender melt-in-your mouth braised pork belly in a tart and slightly sweet assam (tamarind) sauce. Only needs 15 minutes active time and 3 key ingredients (plus common condiments you already have in your kitchen). An unfussy and simple homestyle dish but tastes oh so good!
1. Recipe Video
Assam pork belly is a dish that I learnt from my eldest daughter’s mother-in-law. It is one of her specialty dishes that is really well-received by her family and friends. My eldest daughter, son-in-law and granddaughters really love her Assam pork belly, so I have long heard so much about her dish but had no chance to taste it. Until just recently!
I happened to be at their house when my daughter’s mother-in-law prepared her famous Assam Pork Belly. And WOW! I must say it really melts in your mouth! The tangy taste of assam gravy makes your mouth water, and I can tell you that one piece will not be enough! My daughter’s mother-in-law was kind enough to share with me her treasured recipe, which I have tried making this at home several times and it always turns out really well. Today I’m sharing this recipe with you as well. I hope you will try out this simple yet super delicious dish, and that it will also become one of your family’s favourite!
1. RECIPE VIDEO
2. STEP-BY-STEP RECIPE
Assam Pork BellyPrint
- 500 gm Pork Belly
- 80 gm Assam
- 30 gm Rock Sugar
- 1 TBsp Dark Soy Sauce
- 1 .5 TBsp Sugar
- 1/8 tsp Salt
- 1 sprig Parsley
- 2 small Chilli
Other Kitchen Supplies (Optional)
- 2 TBsp Coarse Salt For washing the pork belly
Wash and clean the pork belly thorough to get rid of the smell (see detailed recipe notes for the method).
Blanch the pork belly in boiling water for 10 minutes, then wash and pat dry.
Mix 150 ml of water with the assam and squeeze out the juice, until the seeds separate cleanly from the pulp.
Sieve the assam juice into a big bowl, using a spoon to squeeze out all the juices from the assam pulp.
Add the assam juice, dark soya sauce and sugar to the pork belly and mix well. Then allow the pork to marinate for 5-6 hours, turning it over midway to ensure all sides of the pork are nicely marinated.
Add the pork belly and assam water to a pot, followed by the rock sugar and pinch of salt, then bring back to a boil over high heat.
Once boiling, lower the heat to medium then simmer for 1.5 hrs or until the pork is soft and tender. If the water starts to dry up, add a little boiling water and continue to simmer otherwise it can get burnt easily.
Towards the end of the braising process, the sauce should thicken and turn slightly sticky. Be careful to stir the sauce and turn the pork frequently as its easy for the dish to get burnt at this stage.
Check if the pork is tender enough, if not, you may need to extend the braising time by another 10-20 minutes.
Once done, remove the pork belly and cut into thin slices. Garnish it with parsley and cut chillies. Best served hot with rice or steamed leaf buns.
3. DETAILED RECIPE NOTES
A. Nutritional Information (COMING SOON!)
B. Dietary Information
The purpose of this section is to provide information about dietary information about this recipe based on our best knowledge. However, we are not certified healthcare professionals so please seek the advice of your nutritionist or doctor before proceeding to use these recipes.
C. Make-Ahead & Time-Saving Tips
- Do the preparation the night before then leave the pork to marinate in the fridge overnight.
- Make this a few days ahead! As with most braised dishes, this Assam Pork will actually taste even better if you leave it in the fridge for a few days after it is cooked, and then re-heat before serving. This way, the flavours from the gravy will really seep into the meat and make it so tender and flavourful. Thats why its a great dish to make-ahead for an upcoming meal or potluck gathering.
- Make a larger batch and freeze up the extra portion for a rainy day when you have no time to cook.
D. Recipe FAQs and Expert Tips
1. Can I use a less fatty cut of pork instead of pork belly?
Yes, you can substitute pork belly can be substituted with Bu Jian Tian (不见天) which is actually Pork Armpit, or Twee Bak with skin on which is also known as Pork Butt, but is actually the upper part of the pork shoulder.
2. How do I clean the pork thoroughly to reduce the porky smell?
Use a sharp knife to scrape the pork skin to remove the thin film of covering. Next, rub the skin with coarse salt to exfoliate it, then rinse it thoroughly. Blanching the pork in boiling water is also a crucial step to remove the scum. After blanching the pork, discard the water and rinse the pork thoroughly.
3. I followed the recipe exactly but my dish turned out a tad too salty.
Be mindful that some brands of assam and dark soya sauce are super salty. I usually use the Orchid Brand assam and Elephant Brand Dark Soya Sauce. Both brands are products of Thailand. For other brands which are more salty, you may need to reduce the quantity slightly. You may want to wait until towards the end of the braising process to taste the sauce and see if you still need to add the pinch of salt.
4. If the gravy is drying up too fast, can I add tap water instead of boiling water?
We advise that you add boiling water. Tap water will affect the temperature of the dish, and so the cooking time will no longer be accurate.
5. How can I tell if the pork is tender enough?
Use a satay stick to poke through the centre of the pork to check if it is soft and tender – it should glide thorough easily. Otherwise, you can continue to braise it for another 10-20 minutes until it is tender.
6. I added too much water and now after 1.5 hours of cooking, the sauce is too diluted. Please help!
If the sauce is still too diluted by end of braising process, turn the heat up to high to evaporate off some of the gravy until it turns slightly sticky. Take extra care to turn the pork and stir frequently to avoid the dish getting burnt.
7. Can you teach me how to make the spicy version of this dish?
Simple! You can add in some chilli padi by bruising the whole chilli and add to the pork during the last 15 mins of the cooking time!