Recently Good Taste Magazine ran a competition called The Golden Whisk Awards - they were looking for Australia's Best Home Cook. I contemplated entering - but then wondered what I could possibly make that would be new and original. Needless to say procrastination got the better of me and I never entered. I was very interested to see what the winning entries would submit though.
The Golden Whisk Award winner's dish was Prosciutto-wrapped Chicken on Parsnip Mash - it won because it was quick, easy, budget friendly and perfect for adults and kids (they haven't met "The Darlings"!!).
The People's Choice winner's recipe was Spiced Pork with Sesame Rice.
Looking over the recipe it didn't seem all that different from other recipes I had seen in this vein. Loving pork the way we do though, I decided to give it a test run. However...... when I got to reading the method (yes, I know... I did read the method before I started - gasp, horror!!!) I noted that the cooking time was only about 25 minutes for the pork - now if you are a pork belly lover like me, you like your pork melt in the mouth soft - so I decided to make this "my way".
Spice Pork with Sesame Rice
adapted from Jacob Leung's recipe that is featured in December's issue of Good Taste Magazine
1 tbs peanut oil
4cm piece of ginger, thinly sliced
3 cloves crushed garlic
1 red chilli, finely diced
2 brown onions, halved, cut into thick wedges
1.2 kg pork belly rashers, cut into 3cm pieces
1/3 cup ketchap manis
1/4 cup dark soy sauce
3 whole star anise
1 tbs brown sugar
2 tsp Chinese five spice
1 lemon, halved, juiced, halves reserved
1 litre beef stock
Steamed Asian Greens to serve
2 cups long grain rice
1 tbs sesame oil
2 tbs sesame seeds
Heat a large saucepan over high heat. Add the oil and heat until hot. Stir fry the ginger, garlic and chilli for 5-10 seconds or until aromatic. Add the onion and stir fry for 2 minutes, or until the onion is softened.
Add the pork pieces. Stir fry for 4-5 minutes, or until browned.
Add the ketchap manis, soy sauce, star anise, brown sugar, and Chinese five spice. Stir fry from 1 minute. Add the lemon juice, lemon halves and stock. Simmer gently for 1- 1/2 hours, or until the pork is tender, and the liquid has reduced.
Meanwhile to make the sesame rice, cook rice according to packet directions, adding the sesame seeds and sesame oil at the start of cooking.
Serve the pork with the sesame rice and steamed asian greens.
I am sure the dish would have been lovely if I had followed directions. Which were to cook it for 25 minutes, then remove the meat, and simmer the liquid for another 20 minutes to reduce it - but it just wasn't the way I like my pork. You decide - and let me know what you think.
So Dear Readers here comes the $64,000 question - how do you like your pork belly, meltingly soft and juicy, or more firm to the bite?