Saturday, October 17, 2009

Luke Nguyen's Caramelised Pork Belly via Grab Your Fork

As soon as I saw Grab Your Fork's post on her Cabramatta food tour with Red Lantern's Luke Nguyen, I knew I had to make the recipe she kindly posted on her blog.

I had the advantage of learning from her experience and got all the ingredients together well in advance and had time to marinate the meat, which was not exactly pork belly as I was trying to cut down the fat but ended up adding something called pork rashers to some lean pork cutlets anyway. The pork rashers had lots of fat and skin and looked to me exactly like sliced pork belly but I have no idea which part of the pig they're from!

Yes, I confess it, I cannot follow a recipe without attempting to fiddle with it or adapt to circumstances, the circumstances being I already had some frozen pork chops in the freezer! So taking Luke/Helen's recipe, I ran it through the pantry database (me) and substituted palm sugar for the plain sugar, plain shallot for the red shallot which I could not find in a local grocery store and added coriander instead of the chili after the dish was finished. I served it with some white sticky rice and steamed Broccolini.

Reader, the meal was a success! Highly recommended that you follow the link and try it for yourself. As for leftovers, I now have a delicious master stock that can be reused, frozen or added to other meals for a tasty lift in flavour. Yummo!
This is the pork marinating, you can see the fat from the pork rashers amidst the diced chops.
The recipe calls for juice (not milk) from a fresh green coconut, I was thrilled to discover that my local Woollies has in stock coconuts just for drinking. The problem is, how do you open it up to obtain the juice as the shell is very hard? As you can see from the images, problem solved!
The secret to the marinade is the Caramel Sauce which is a very dark caramelisation of plain sugar with water, nothing at all like a western caramel sauce which is not as dark and bitter and is flavoured with butter. You can buy it commercially or make your own according to Andrea Nguyen's excellent Viet World Kitchen blog.
I managed to find the Elephant Brand recommened by GYF
Didn't have a claypot so I just stir fried the meat in a normal pot, adding the coconut juice last and boiling down until the sauce was slightly reduced but I recommend not reducing it too much as it is delicious drizzled over the rice.
Dinner is now served! A fantastic recipe, fast and uncomplicated.


  1. Wow it looks great, and i love you adapted everything to suit what you had. And pork rashers are pretty much the same as pork belly :)

  2. Well, I for one, wish I'd come over to your place for dinner instead of camping in the backyard with the kids! Looks great Ya Ya...I love a pork belly. That Caramel sauce looks yummy too...will have to come and dip my finger in the jar at some stage.

  3. Thanks Helen, good to know my instincts regarding pork were correct!

    happy blogger, sample of the caramel sauce on its way, don't put it on icecream though, it's not very sweet at all!

  4. That looks amazing! When you used the sticky rice it reminds me of a Hakka dish that my father makes. It uses pork belly, red dates amongst other things all upon glutinous rice :)