There is really nothing to this recipe and it always feels a bit like I’m cheating as there is no actual ‘cooking’ involved at all, just a piece of meat, rubbed with some spice and plonked in the oven.
However, it is one of the nicest ways of cooking pork belly, always well received and enjoyed by everyone who eats it.
The Five Spice Mix is a genius combination of eastern flavours and smells, instantly recognisable both in terms of taste and aroma. The heady combination of cinnamon, fennel, star anise, Sichuan pepper and cloves seems to have its own feel good factor and its hits the senses with a loud thud.
Try to find a nice thick bit of belly with a substantial piece of fat on the top. This not only makes for good crackling, but as the meat will be in the oven for quite some time, this helps to keep the meat deliciously tender and moist while it is cooking.
Make sure you score the rind well, ask your friendly butcher to do it for you if you find it a chore to find a knife sharp enough at home.
Serve with a dish of noodles or rice with some Chinese greens.
The onion in the recipe acts a trivet to stop the meat from sticking to the bottom of the pan, it doesn’t need to be peeled. Slice a large onion into about four rings.
- Belly of Pork (about 800g - 1kg)
- 2 tsp Chinese Five Spice Mix
- 1 Large Onion, Thickly Sliced
- Preheat the oven to 160c
- Put the sliced onion in the middle of the bottom of a roasting pan, not much larger than the meat.
- Make sure the pork is nice and dry, wipe over with some kitchen paper to remove any moisture.
- Rub all over with the spice mix, getting into all the nooks and crannies.
- Sprinkle the rind with sea salt and rub in.
- Place the pork on top of the sliced onion.
- Cover the roasting dish tightly with foil, try to make a dome shape so it does to stick to the pork.
- Place in the oven and cook for 2 and a half hours.
- Raise the temperature of the oven to 220c.
- Remove the foil and cook for a further 20-30 mins to crisp up the crackling.