Mandarin katzu pork belly with pickled vegetables

Last weekend I made this beautiful dish for my two of my friends. Pork belly is always one of my favourites when I go out for dinner, however I have always been to scared to make it myself. After a quick flick through Donna Hay’s Basics to Brilliance I realised that actually it is really easy to make.

I decided to make the pork belly with a Japanese twist. Katzu is a scrumptious Japanese barbeque sauce. The mandarin juice also gives this dish a sweet and citrus touch.

Ingredients:

Pork belly

  • 1kg pork belly
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1/2 cup Katzu sauce (see recipe below)
  • 3 mandarins

Pickled vegetables

  • 2 carrots
  • 1/4 red cabbage
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • Coriander and mint for serving

The pickled vegetables are best made the night before, however if you like them a little more crunchy make these at least two hours before.

Slice the red cabbage finely or slice through a mandarin. Julienne the carrots. I find the easiest way to do this is using a julienne peeler. Finely slice cucumber and combine in a bowl with the red cabbage and carrot. Add apple cider vinegar, brown sugar and chilli flakes. Toss the vegetables so that they are well coated. Place glad wrap over the bowl and refrigerate until serving.

Score the skin of the pork belly in a diamond pattern with scores about 1cm apart. Rub oil and salt into the skin to help it dry out. Place in the refrigerator uncovered for two hours. Pre heat the oven to 180*C. Rub more salt onto the skin. Place the pork belly skin side down on an oven pan. Pour over Katzu sauce* and rub into the pork meat. Squeeze over the juice of the mandarins and place the squeezed mandarins on top of pork meat. Roast in oven for 1 hour. Increase the oven temperature up to 200*C  Turn the pork over and roast for a further 30 minutes or until the skin is golden and crunchy.

Rest the pork for at least 10 minutes with tinfoil over it before slicing. Finely chop the coriander and mint and add to the pickled vegetables. Slice the pork ad serve.

This dish is also great served with fresh mandarin pieces and peanuts. Add more or less chilli for your taste.

*Katzu is a Japanese barbeque sauce. You can either buy it from Asian supermarkets or the international section of the supermarket. Alternatively you can combine 1 tbsp. tomato sauce, 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, crushed ginger, 1 tsp. brown sugar, 1 tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tsp. vinegar, pinch of all spice.

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