Latitude Magazine

Sticky Lemongrass & Coffee Pork Belly


Vietnamese avours, deeply satisfying – bitter, fragrant, sticky and sweet . . . what a combo! Serve with a big pile of Asian greens and plenty of fresh herbs.


4 tsp Chinese five-spice salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1.5 kg pork belly, cut into cubes

1 cup coconut milk

2 cups Master Stock* or good quality

bought chicken stock with some

aromatics added

¼ cup fish sauce or vegan fish sauce

or tamari

¼ cup coconut vinegar or balsamic

juice of 2 limes

coconut oil, to sear

2 shallots, sliced

7–8 cm piece of fresh ginger, sliced

2 cloves garlic, smashed

5 stalks lemongrass, peeled

and sliced

10 whole fresh makrut lime leaves

2 red chillies, split

2 tbsp coconut palm sugar or

sweetener of your choice (optional)

¼ cup roasted whole co ee beans or

2 tbsp instant co ee powder


5 star anise

1 tsp whole cloves

1 stick cinnamon

2 tbsp fennel seeds

2 tsp Szechuan peppercorn­s

1 tsp sea salt

Mix the ve-spice salt and pepper together and r ub into the por k belly. Cover and leave to rest for an hour or so, or o vernight in the fr idge if possible – allow it to co me to room temp before cooking.

Mix all the liquids – coconut milk, stock, sh sauce, vinegar and lime juice – and set aside. is is your braising liquid.

When the pork has rested, preheat the oven to 160°C.

Heat a little coconut oil in a large frying pan over a high heat until simmering. In batches, sear the pork belly on all sides, 2–3 minutes a side, until golden brown, then place in a large ovenproof dish that has a lid (or you can use foil to cover). Add the shallots to the pork pan and gently cook for a minute before adding the rest of the aromatics – ginger, garlic, lemongrass, lime leaves and chillies. Deglaze the pan with the braising liquid, stirring to scrape up any porky bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the sweetener and stir till dissolved. Place the co’ee beans directly into the braising liquid or mix in the instant co’ee to dissolve, then pour everything over the pork. Cover and place in the oven. Allow the belly to braise for 3–4 hours, turning it over occasional­ly, then remove the pork from the dish and check the braising liquid for consistenc­y and avour. If it ’s too thin, reduce it in a saucepan on the stovetop to a sticky sauce; if it ’s too salty, add more lime, etc. Strain through a ne strainer to remove the aromatics. Toss the pork through the sticky sauce before serving.

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