Braised Pork Belly with Sweet Preserved Mustard Vegetable (Mei Cai Kou Rou) is tender and succulent braised pork belly that's so soft it literally melts in your mouth, perfectly balanced by sweet crunchy pieces of sweet mustard vegetable. SO good!
Use a knife to scrape the skin of the pork belly to remove the scum. Next rub the skin with coarse salt to exfoliate it, then rinse thoroughly.
Soak the Mei Cai for about 20 minutes, wash thoroughly by opening up the leaves to remove any sand particles and squeeze dry. Cut into thin strips.
Scrape off the skin from the ginger with a knife. Then slice thinly and set aside.
Wash the spring onion, cut off the roots and set aside.
Rinse garlic with the skin on. Use the flat side of a chopper to smash it lightly, then set aside.
In a bowl, add all the 'Sauce' ingredients in (b) and mix well.
In a separate bowl, add all the 'Slurry' ingredients in (c) and mix well.
Add all the ingredients in group (a) into a large wok, then add in the cleaned pork belly. Bring to a boil over high heat for about 20 mins.
Remove the pork belly, rinse it and then pat dry with a kitchen paper towel. Discard rest of the blanching mixture. Then use a fork or tooth pick to prick as many holes on the pork belly skin as possible, then pat dry.
Next, rub the dark soya sauce all over the pork belly (including the skin) and leave to marinate for about 20 mins. Then pat dry with a kitchen paper towel.
Heat up the 100 ml of oil over medium high heat and carefully place the pork belly skin down. Fry for about 5 minutes, or until the skin turns golden brown.
In a clean wok, heat up 2 TBsp of oil, then add in the smashed garlic and fry till aromatic. Next, add in the Mei Cai strips and fry for about 5 minutes until it is dry.
Next, add in the 'Sauce' mixture you prepared earlier, and let it simmer for another 10 mins over medium high heat.
In a deep flat steaming dish, arrange the pork slices with the skin of the pork belly facing downwards.
Place the Mei Cai mixture on top of the pork belly slice, and press down gently with the back of a spoon.
Cover the bowl with a stainless steel plate, then cover the wok lid and steam for 2-2.5 hours over medium heat.
Once cooked, drain off the gravy into a bowl, then invert the steaming dish over a deep serving dish of a similar size or slightly larger, so the pork belly skin faces upwards when serving.
OPTIONAL: For a thicker sauce, heat up the gravy in a small pan over medium heat. Then give the cornstarch slurry a stir before adding into the gravy to allow it to thicken.
Pour the sauce over the dish and garnish with a piece of parsley. Serve hot with a bowl of hot steaming rice, congee, noodle or Chinese buns.
1. Why do you blanch the pork belly?
Blanching the pork belly with hot water helps to remove the scum, which gives off an unpleasant 'porky' smell. Adding ginger, spring onion and Chinese wine helps to further remove the porky smell. Always make sure you rinse off the scum from the pork after blanching, and then you give the pot a good rinse as well!
Poking holes in the pork helps to force out the water in the pork so it won't splatter during deep frying. It also increases the surface area to increase the ability of the pork skin to absorb the marinade.
After deep frying the pork belly, it is best to soak it in water for about 30 mins so that the skin will plump up which gives it a smooth, wobbly and spongy-like texture.