2 garlic cloves
50ml fish sauce
50ml lime juice
50ml rice vinegar
2 red bullet chillies, sliced
70g caster sugar
500g caster sugar
3 small red chillies, chopped
12 star anise
100ml fish sauce
100ml light soy sauce pork belly
800g piece pork belly
1L master stock
100ml light soy sauce
2 cups tapioca starch
2 tablespoons Chinese five spice
200ml chilli caramel
1 large pinch spring onions, chopped
1 large red chilli, seeded and sliced
1L vegetable oil
6 mint leaves, torn
1 pinch coriander leaves
6 Vietnamese mint leaves
6 shiso leaves, torn
50g cabbage, shredded finely
20g red cabbage, shredded finely
1/2 green apple, sliced finely
Nuoc cham, enough to dress the slaw
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Leave to stand for at least 30 minutes before using.
In a saucepan, add the sugar and the water and bring to the boil.?Continue to boil until it starts to caramelise. Add the chillies, star anise, fish sauce and the soy sauce, being careful that the caramel does not splash you. Turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Then turn off completely and leave for 5 minutes.
Strain the caramel and set aside for later use.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the pork belly in a baking tray and add the master stock. Cover the meat with foil and place in the preheated oven. Cook for around four hours, checking occasionally to make sure the master stock has not reduced too much. If it has, top up with a little more master stock or water. Allow to cool slightly, remove the belly and place it on a tray and refrigerate.
When chilled completely, cut the belly into 8 pieces; put the pieces into a bowl, add the soy sauce, coat the belly, then pour off the soy.
Add the tapioca starch and the five spice, making sure you coat the pork pieces evenly. Dust off any excess starch.
In a wok, heat the oil to roughly 170°C(335°F) add the coated pork pieces to the wok, being careful that the oil doesn’t boil over. You may need to do this in 2 batches. Fry the pork for around 7 minutes and remove from the oil.
In a frying pan or wok, heat up the chilli caramel, add the spring onions, chilli and the fried pork and cook for 30 seconds.
In a bowl, mix together the salad leaves, herbs and apple slices. Pour dressing over the slaw and stir through until evenly coated.
Place the pork in a bowl, pour over the caramel and top with the apple slaw. Serve with a side dish of black vinegar.
NOTE: A master stock is a stock that is reused again and again to poach or braise meat.
Recipe by John McLeay
This is an edited extract from 'Signature Dishes' by Michelle Tchea, published by New Holland, $29.95.