from one generation to the next
My well loved wok is the cheapest I could find at the Asian stall in the local market and it’s now older than my adult kids. After carefully seasoning that carbon steel wok, I began my foray into Chinese cookery. Because an electric cooktop is not ideal for getting a wok red hot my earliest stir fried dishes were in reality, braised.
I moved up to gas cooking when I shifted house, but it wasn’t until after a major kitchen renovation just a few years back that my cheap wok, now shiny and black from use, felt real heat.
Finally I’ve been able to get tasty charred edges to the ingredients I stir fry, giving the food a typical gentle smoky flavour. It’s taken a few attempts to get a balance right with this salt and paper pork belly, but the messing around has been well worth the effort.
This is our new favourite no fuss dinner. Teamed with a oyster sauce seasoned Asian braise of wombok, bok choy, and gai lan and some rice vermicelli seasoned with garlic oil, it’s warm, mouth tingling, savoury and delicious.
Despite it’s fattiness, pork belly has a tendency to be tough when cooked quickly over a high heat. Kiwi fruit and has a natural enzyme buried within that magically softens meat fibres so after a few hours of marinating in the pureed kiwi fruit you are guaranteed juicy tender pork.
Buying a cheap wok has proved to be a blessing in disguise.
500g of boneless pork belly
1 kiwi fruit
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
1 teaspoon garlic oil
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1/2 long red chilli, sliced
3 spring onions, green part only
1 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
1 teaspoon crushed szechuan peppercorns
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
Cut the pork belly into pieces 1x3cm. Peel the kiwi fruit and blitz to a puree. Toss the pork in the kiwi fruit puree and chill for at least 4 hours. Drain and rinse the pork and pat it dry with paper towels.
Toss the pork in a little peanut oil.
Heat a wok, then toast the szechuan peppercorns. Crush the black and szechuan peppercorns , then add the salt flakes.
Reheat the wok, add the garlic oil then stir fry the pork in small batches until well browned and cooked through. Set each batch aside in a colander to drain off the fat.
Pour any residual fat from the wok, add the sesame oil, then sauté the chilli and spring onion until fragrant.
Return the pork belly to the pan, sprinkle over the salt and peppers, toss well to combine.
Serve garnished with extra spring onion greens.