Slow Roasted Pork Belly with a Chinese Style Sauce

We love pork belly, but here it is more traditionally used as “pancetta”, boiled in stocks and soups to add flavour or cut into tiny chunks and done on the plancha (griddle) or deep fried as a little tapas. Often it will have the skin removed.

Big Man knows that I don´t like the flowers sold in the very few florists we ever come across here (funeral meets petrol station bouquet) so I am romanced with food surprises. Cheese covered in rosemary, tangy little apples to remind me of England, bunches of wild asparagus, a freshly caught rabbit, mushrooms which have been foraged for, and yesterday a belly of pork with the skin on. Now that´s what I call love.

Today the sun is shining, time to get to work in the garden and vegetable patch, so I needed a dish that I could forget about for a while. This recipe from my old favourite, the BBC Good Food Website, seemed to fit the bill. I did change it slightly as several people commented on the sauce being very sticky and leaving them with some scary washing up. Not for me, I thought, and worked around it.


For the sauce

  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 60ml vinegar (I used white wine)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 star anise, broken up slightly
  • 1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 100ml rice wine or sherry (I used a dry fino)
  • 1kg boneless pork belly

 Turn the oven on to its lowest setting.

Mix all the ingredients for the sauce together and warm gently until the honey has melted.

Line a small, deep baking tin or dish (one that will fit the meat quite snugly) with greaseproof paper making sure it comes up the sides. I used a large sheet and just placed it in the tin, scrunching it round the meat once it was placed in the tin.

Pour the sauce into the tin then place the meat on top, skin side up. Gather the paper up a little and then make a lid of aluminium foil so that the meat is sealed in the tin.

Cook slowly for about 3 hours, test the meat at the end of this time to ensure the meat is no longer pink. If it is, leave in for a little longer.

Now turn the oven up to the highest setting. Drain the sauce off the meat into a small pan and replace the meat in the baking tray, still skin side up. Continue cooking the meat until the top has turned crispy. Mine took about 45 minutes but you could always put it under a hot grill instead (not too close though or it will just burn).

Meanwhile remove any fat from the top of the sauce (I did this with a small ladle) and then fast boil the sauce until it has thickened slightly.

When the meat is done, cut into slices and serve with some of the sauce poured over. We ate ours with plain boiled basmati rice and spinach, picked only an hour before from the garden, which was simply steamed.

Now…has anyone noticed a slight improvement in my photos today? I do hope so! When I was in the UK last week I picked up my new (well, new to me) camera. It´s a Nikon D60 and I am a total photography virgin when it comes to the camera I now have. It has a couple of lenses. One of them, I am sure, will be able to pick out the hand of cards Big Man is holding when playing with the old boys in the summer if he is sat on the terrace of the bar down the road. I haven´t even read the instruction book yet, so am going to enjoy playing with it over the next few months.  Wish me luck…but don´t worry Roger, you have nothing to fear from me…


65 thoughts on “Slow Roasted Pork Belly with a Chinese Style Sauce

    1. Oh yes, I forgot you are banned till you reach the bottom of the freezer! Ours filled up this afternoon with our chickens. Am feeling a bit off meat right now 😉

  1. now you have the same camera as i do! You WILL have fun, and I am always thrilled if i can find pork with the skin on, almost impossible out here.. so I am growing my own!.. this recipe looks good enough to eat, it would have made a wonderful dinner.. c

    1. I hope to learn from you then! Still don´t know what all the letters on the dial mean so am operating on auto at the moment 😉 It´s hard to find pork with skin on here too as they remove it for salting and putting in the stock! This was a special request from Big Man to the butcher. Bet yours will taste amazing because happy animals are always the best.

    1. Ahh, he´s an old romantic! Was pleased with the crackling, even Big Man ate it as he used think I was a bit strange to eat it. Mind you, he still won´t eat the skin on a jacket potato…which I usually end up pinching!

    1. It´s the way to my heart certainly! Thanks for the kind words, we really enjoyed this…and with the rice and steamed spinach it wasn´t tooooo naughty 😉

  2. You’ve got me smiling Chica! I’d much rather have food gifts instead of flowers. What a sweetheart of a man! And love the pictures. Beautiful. I know how you feel, I got my new camera last December. The learning curve has been brutal! Have a lovely week 🙂

  3. Oh that looks lovely. I may try this on Bank Holiday Monday – it looks a good one to feed lots of people! And yes your photos look very professional – I can see the crackling! x

    1. It was sooo good. And pork belly is not too expensive (not sure what it´s like now in the UK) and is good for a crowd. I think it was my best crackling yet! The photos have improved from the little camera, but at the moment I just seem to be taking snaps of the garden and dogs 😉

  4. Sounds yummy…I’m not a flower person either. I love flowers, but not as gifts. But food will get me every time 🙂 And congrats on the camera. I so want a new camera but haven’t figured out a way to work that out yet. I need to come up with something and I was reminded that just breaking it won’t work. I wish I could find that dragon in Camden 🙂

    1. I do love flowers, just not wreath type arrangements of carnations and crysanthamums dyed unnatural colours…eek! And don´t worry, your day to slay a dragon will come and you will be rewarded by your fair princess Sir TBM!

  5. Well now, your man sure knows how to woo a girl! So much nicer than wilted tatty bunches of abused flowers, some delicious foodie stuff will always go down well. That piece of pork looks so gorgeous, I’m drooling on my keyboard…. 🙂

  6. Well, this is it, the proverbial last straw! Between you and Mad Dog, i just have to find me a nice piece of pork belly. The only “belly” I find is already chopped up into chunks and I never see a whole slab. You two make it look so appetizing that I’m going to special order one if I have to.
    Congrats on your new camera, Tanya! I’m sure you’ll be shooting like a pro in no time. And what fun you’ll have in the meantime. 🙂

    1. I´m sorry, we don´t have a conspiracy going, honest! If you have a friendly butcher, I´m sure he could prepare this for you quite easily and it´s typically not a very expensive cit of meat. If you get it with the bones do you can also make ribs (or cook them for Max)! Am already having fun with the camera, I think I´ve snapped every weed and wild flower in the area 😉

  7. Love the “new and improved” photography Chica – it can really let the beautiful looking pork belly shine through here. Love the sound of this 🙂

  8. If I ate pork, I know I’d Love this! Looks and sounds delicious, and yes, your photos caught my eye. You’re about to have such fun Tanya, which can only mean even more fun for us! And I love the diverse and wonderful ways our men find to romance us! 😉 Big man clearly GETS you!

  9. You had me at pork belly (possibly the greatest meat in the world). And the with Chinese sauce part was just the icing on the cake. Looks wonderful. Enjoy that new camera!

  10. Terrific photo! This slow roasted pork belly with chinese-style sauce looks and sounds delicious!! I’m bookmarking this one, too. It sounds like something I can get away with making in my suegra’s oven when we go visit. 🙂

  11. What I wouldn’t give to be able to find pork like that…
    Have fun with your new camera – I’ve had mine for months and still haven’t finished exploring it! (Maybe next year, we can BOTH go spend a few days at Roger’s ‘school’ 🙂 )

  12. Oh, yes, I’d rather be given a pork belly than flowers any day! And you’ve made very tasty use of this one – it sounds and looks delicious. And lovely photos too! You’ll have such fun learning about the new camera – enjoy it!

  13. Your man brings your gifts of food?? You lucky lady!! How sweet… and the way you describe it, adorable.. I think you’ll have tons of fun with your camera. The one thing I’ve learned lately is to move your dish to different place around the house.. even a few feet will give you a different light and a completely different mood to your photo.. I’m still reading my camera’s guidebook, lol!

    1. What a good tip – our house is quite dark (to keep it cool and shady) so I need to look for some sunny spots or photograph outside. And yes, food gifts from my works for both of us!

  14. I love it when two people get to know each other so well that they know exactly what will put a smile on your face, they don’t care what other people do, they know YOU and they do what makes YOU happy 🙂 Sweet

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