Caramel and Five-Spice Braised Pork Belly

, from Issue #72. May, 2017
Photography by Manja Wachsmuth.
Caramel and Five-Spice Braised Pork Belly

You can serve this succulent pork with rice and a salad of thinly sliced cucumber and red onion, bean sprouts, fried shallots
and herbs, such as Vietnamese mint, Thai basil and coriander.

Serves: 6


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1.5-kilogram piece pork belly, skin removed and cut into 3cm thick slices
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1½ teaspoons Chinese
five-spice powder
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
1 bunch coriander, stalks finely chopped, leaves reserved
3 tablespoons
grated fresh ginger
2 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup kecap manis
1 cup water
sea salt and ground pepper

To serve
2 teaspoons cornflour mixed with 2 teaspoons cold water
handful coriander,
cashew nuts and lime wedges


Preheat the oven to 160°C fan bake. 

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan and brown the pork on both sides. Transfer to a deep roasting dish. Spoon off excess fat, if necessary, leaving 2 tablespoons in the pan.

Add all the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil then pour over the pork. Cover with a piece of baking paper then cover tightly with foil. Braise for 2 hours or until the pork is meltingly tender when pierced with a skewer.

To serve: Lift out the pork and place on a serving platter. Tip the contents of the pan into a saucepan and stir in the cornflour mixture. Bring to the boil and cook for a few minutes. 

Pour over the pork and garnish with the reserved coriander leaves, cashew nuts and lime wedges. Serves 6.

Cook’s tip: The pork can be cooked two days ahead. Cool the meat in the stock, then cover and refrigerate overnight. Lift off the fat that will have set on the surface and discard. Cover and place in a 200°C oven for about 40 minutes or until hot.