Chinese Roasted Pork Belly with Quick-Pickled Cucumber & Schezuan Roast Potatoes


This dish, except for the Schezuan roast potatoes, which were made up by me, are by Anthony Hoy Fong and are featured in the Great New Zealand Cookbook. This very nicely photographed and produced book has recipes by cooks and chefs from around New Zealand rated by degree of difficulty, from fine dining establishments to local cafes and fish and chip shops, with introductions by each chef on their background or on the restaurant featured. Some dishes are beyond me, but most can be done and I have quickly found some favourites. This is one. It serves 6

Chinese Roasted Pork Belly

1 1/2kg boneless pork bell, skin on
1 tsp manuka honey, or runny honey
1 tsp sugar
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tbs hoisin sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbs sea salt and some more to rub on pork
1/2 tsp five-spice powder
1 tbs canola oil (optional)
coriander leaves and spring onions to garnish

Score skin of pork belly into strips
Turn it over and cut into the flesh in 4cm intervals about 3/4 deep
Put pork belly into a clean sink and pour boiling water over both sides – this tightens the skin and helps it to crackle. Pat dry
Make the marinade: combine honey, sugar, garlic, hoisin, salt and five space powder
Rub the marinade into the flesh and the cuts you have made – do not get it on the skin. If you do wipe dry with a paper towel. Marinade for at least two hours or overnight
Put pork skin side up in a roasting tray and rub salt into the skin and cuts you made. The recipe calls for rubbing canola oil onto the skin also. I never add anything but salt/pepper and find it crackles perfectly well without oil
Preheat oven to 240C and place pork in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes. Then, add 2 cups of water – do not get skin wet – and turn down over to 160C and cook for 1 1/2 hours. If the skin has not crackled turn on grill taking care not to let it burn. Rest the proc for at least 15 minutes before slicing into bite-sized cubes. Arrange on a platter with coriander leaves and sliced spring onions.
I serve mine with steamed jasmine rice and used the marinade/water mix as an additional yummy gravy. To accompany that we had Quick Pickled Cucumber, Schezuan Roast Potatoes, and Stir-fried Bok Choy, See below

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Quick Pickled Cucumber

1 large cucumber
21/2 tbp seasoned rice vinegar
2 tbs water
1 tbs sugar
1 tbs toasted sesame oil
1 tsp sea salt
1 hot fresh chilli, finely diced

Peel cucumber and cut lengthwise. Take a teaspoon and scrape seeds from the middle and discard.
In bowl large enough to hold the cucumber, add the ingredients of the marinade and whisk together, and then mix in the cucumber, stir and cover and put in fridge half an hour before serving.

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Schezuan Roast Potatoes

These are not in Anthony Hoy Fong’s menu but I had spuds I needed to use up. Turned out to be a delicious addition.

6 Agria potatoes
2 tbs Schezuan peppercorns
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp five-spice powder
1 tsp sea salt
4 tbs olive oil
1 tbs Sesame seeds

Peel and cut potatoes into bite-sized chunks, par boil and drain
Roast Schezuan peppercorns in a dry frying pan till aromatic. Put in a pestle and mortar with the salt and bash to a coarse power.
Put mixture in a bowl and add crushed garlic, five-spice powder and olive oil.
Place potatoes in a baking tray and pour over the mixture, coating spuds completely. Scatter with sesame seeds and roast till golden brown and crunchy.


Stir-fried Bok Choy

6 heads bok choy
2 whole cloves garlic, peeled and lightly bashed
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs Peanut oil

Wash bok choy and peel and bash garlic
Heat your wok to full whack
Add oil, add garlic and let it fizz for a few seconds; add bok choy and move it around frequently for 2 minutes, add soy sauce, cook for another minute and serve.