Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Peter's recipe: Braised belly of pork

Braised belly of pork:
Braised Pork with Egg and Coconut Juice (Thit Heo Kho)
Nhut Hunyh & Jeremy McNamara – RQ Thai & Vietnamese Cuisine, 294 Crown St,
INGREDIENTS                              BACK
1 kg pork belly (not too fatty), cut into 5 cm cubes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 shallots (small brown onion bulbs), finely chopped
3 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp light soy sauce
1½ tbsp dark soy sauce
4 star anise
½ tsp cracked black pepper
2 tbsp palm sugar or dark brown sugar
2 whole green shallots
1 tbsp vegetable oil
½ white onion, finely diced
3 cups (1 bag) young coconut juice (not milk or cream!)
1½ cups water
8 hard boiled, free range eggs, peeled
Jasmine rice and coriander, to serve
1. Combine pork belly, garlic, shallot, fish sauce, soy sauces, pepper, star anise and palm sugar. Use the whole shallot including roots. Lay on a chopping board and smash with the flat side of the knife then chop finely. Add to marinade. Marinate pork for at least 3 hours or overnight.
2. Heat vegetable oil in heavy based pan and brown onion. Remove pork from marinade and add to the pan and seal over high heat. Add coconut juice, marinade and water.
3. Bring pan to the boil and skim surface. Simmer for 1 hour on low heat (skimming occasionally) and then add eggs. Simmer for a further hour. Serve with steamed Jasmine rice and garnished with coriander.
And vegetable pancakes [OK so they’re pikelets not pancakes]:
Vegetable Pikelets
  1 small zucchini grated
1 carrot grated (or equivalent amount of pumpkin)
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/2 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup wholemeal self raising flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon margarine
Cook zucchini and carrot with orange juice in pan or microwave until tender.
Put flours in a bowl and stir in sugar, egg and milk.
Mix in cooked vegetables.
Heat frypan and lightly grease with margarine.
Drop tablespoons of mixture into pan.
When bubbles appear turn and brown the other side
Seemed like a great combination at the time.  By cooking the pork belly ahead of time and allowing the pork and some of the juices to sit, covered, in an oven set to keep warm at 70oC for a number of hours, I produced a dish which was exquisitely tender and rich.  The pikelets could also be made up early and kept warm between layers of kitchen paper.  The chosen wine is one of the emerging popular varietals in Australia.  I always remember my first tour of Spain in the late 1960s when I felt at home among the browns and olive colours of the countryside after over a year in verdant England.  These climate and rainfall similarities have attracted Australian winegrowers to experiment with grapes such as Tempranillo, Graciano and Albarino [though we found out that a lot of what we thought was Albarino is Savignan].  Tempranillo is very popular and an excellent food wine.  My favourites are from a wide range of areas, though higher country seems to produce the better wines, such as a local winery near the Canberra airport.                    BACK

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