Siew Yoke (Roast Pork Belly)

G tried chicken rice for his first trip to Malaysia recently but didn’t get the chance to try roast pork belly that’s also served with the rice. And he loves pork belly. So I thought I’d combine this with the chicken rice to fill that little pork belly-hole in his tummy.

This recipe’s modified from this website, and it was the simplicity that appealed to me. My slab of meat was about 700g in weight so I didn’t use all the dry rub. Do try and get a slab rather than strips as the latter can toughen quite easily in the oven. Drying out the meat prior to cooking and resting the meat after will ensure optimum flavour. White distilled vinegar is not distilled malt vinegar as I discovered. White vinegar can be found in Asian supermarkets and is quite literally diluted acetic acid (5% to 8% acetic acid in water). This step is essential in obtaining a crisp rather than chewy crackling.

The siew yoke turned out absolutely delicious. Crispy crunchy crackling with soft moist meat interspersed with fat that melted in your mouth. Utterly moreish. And so simple to make even my mum was tempted to have a go!

Siew Yoke

Serves 4 (more if serving with other dishes)

Ingredients
900g slab of pork belly with skin
2 tsp table salt
1 tsp five-spice powder
½ tsp ground white pepper
1 tbsp white distilled vinegar
1 tbsp fine sea salt

  1. Dry the skin with kitchen towels if it’s damp. Pierce the skin all over with a fork or a sharp knife. Take care not to pierce through to the meat.
  2. Flip the pork belly over. Using a knife make cuts along the length of the meat, about 1/4 inch deep and 1 inch apart.
  3. Mix the table salt, five-spice powder and white pepper together. Pat the dry rub on the meat and sides, avoiding the skin.
  4. Line a baking tray with aluminium foil. Turn the pork belly over skin side up and place on a wire rack over the baking tray. Refrigerate uncovered overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celcius.
  6. When ready to roast, brush white vinegar over the skin and sprinkle liberally with fine sea salt.
  7. Pour water into the tray until it comes up to a couple of inches high, without wetting the bottom of the pork belly. Roast for 50 minutes.
  8. To crisp the skin, change your oven setting to grill (medium to medium high heat) and move the tray to the uppermost shelf of the oven. Alternatively, I used my separate grill to do this step. Leave the oven door slightly ajar. This step will take between 20 to 30 minutes. Watch it like a hawk. The skin will start blistering and browning quicker on the sides and corners so a nifty trick is to tear off bits of aluminium foil and cover the bits that are browning quicker. Turn your tray and move it around under the grill to get the best coverage.
  9. Once cooked, remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes (the meat, not you!).
  10. Turn it over skin side down and slice in bite-sized chunks with a large sharp knife.

We had the pork with some chicken rice, tofu, stir-fried choy sum, sliced cucumber, chilli sauce and ginger sauce. I’ll do another post for the rice and sauces soon!

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