Crispy Pork Belly, Chilli Caramel Pineapple, Thai Salad
This recipe really packs a punch, with rich, crispy pork belly, sweet, spicy pineapple and a fresh salad to cleanse the palette. It covers everything that gives Thai dishes such depth of flavour – salty, sweet, sour and spicy – and it’s simple to prepare and cook.
Pay special attention to getting the moisture out of the pork belly skin before cooking to achieve that golden, super crunch of the crackling. This recipe serves four people.
1kg pork belly, skin on
3 cups water
½ pineapple, skin removed,
cut into wedges
½ tsp chilli flakes
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup Thai basil leaves
1 cup mint
1 cup coriander
1 Lebanese cucumber, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 cup bean sprouts
2 small red chillies, finely sliced
1 spring onion, finely sliced on the diagonal
1 tbsp lemongrass, outer layer removed, finely grated
3cm piece fresh ginger,
skin removed, finely grated
1 tbsp fish sauce
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp brown sugar
1. Bring the pork belly to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Pat the skin dry with paper towel and with a sharp knife score lines through the rind (but not the meat) at 2cm intervals. Generously layer sea salt all over the pork skin and press down firmly to ensure the whole area is covered.
2. Place on a wire rack in a baking tray and add 3 cups of water to the tray. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, then turn down to 180°C for a further 1 ¼ hours.
3. On a separate baking tray lined with baking paper, place the pineapple and brush with a little olive oil. When the pork has been roasting for 1 hour, place the pineapple in the oven for 45 mins, turning once to caramelise on both sides.
4. Prepare the salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine.
5. Add the salad dressing ingredients to a small bowl and whisk well to combine.
6. When the pork belly is ready, remove from the oven, cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 mins. Carve the pork into large slices and place on serving dish. Cover to keep warm.
7. To make the chilli caramel for the pineapple, heat a frypan on medium heat. Add in the sugar and chilli flakes with the water and stir. Bring to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes. The consistency should be a little sticky and have slightly thickened.
8. Remove pineapple from the oven and place on serving plate. Immediately pour over the hot chilli caramel.
9. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Serve immediately while hot.
Dana Sims is a Sydney-based food and prop stylist who has grown up in the Eastern Suburbs and loves to create delicious food for entertaining and family. She is inspired by the fresh produce we have access to here in Sydney. For ideas, recipes and styling inspiration, check out her Instagram, @stone_and_twine.