A while ago Conor Bofin (he of the man meat) posted about monkfish and linked it to a distant TV program called ‘Kung Fu’, starring David Carradine (I could right now go off on a random tangent about Mr Carradine and his nocturnal activities but seeing how this is a ‘food blog’, I suppose I shouldn’t). I used to watch that show and it reminded me of another, less well known program, called ‘Monkey’. (Honestly watch this, the music gets really groovy, for 1978).
This Japanese show told the tale of the eponymous primate doing battle with all kinds of evil and baddies, on some kind of epic journey with a group of friends (the details escape me, it was a long time ago and as they say in China, where the tale was set, one man’s memories are another man’s horrendous bar bill), including a certain Pigsy who longed to be a real man rather than part-man, part-swine.
And so, finally I get to the point. Red Braised Ginger Pork Belly with Pickled Chillies. Yes, if our Monkey side-kick hadn’t made it and become the human he’d always wanted to be he may well have ended up as this Orient-inspired dish. And he wouldn’t have been sorry – it’s that good!
Red Braised Ginger Pork Belly with Pickled Chillies
(recipe from the Good Food Magazine. Good it really can be!)
- 2lbs pork belly
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 7 fl oz rice wine
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 inch piece of ginger, chopped
- chilli flakes
- 3 1/2 fl oz Chinese black vinegar (hard to find, good luck)
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 1/2 pints vegetable stock
- toasted sesame seeds
- sliced spring onions
- 2 red chillies, sliced and soaked in rice wine vinegar
- rice, boiled with saffron strands
First get your pork ready, take the rind off with a sharp knife and as much fat as you can:
Then cut into large, even sized pieces:
Place Pigsy in a dish and pour over the soy sauce and 1 tbsp of the rice wine and leave to marinate in the fridge for an hour. Now you can get cooking:
Heat up some oil in a Dutch Oven and brown the meat:
Set the pork aside, add some more oil to the pot and gently fry the ginger, garlic and chilli flakes until softened:
Now add the sugar, vinegar, rice wine and stock to the pan and bring to the boil:
Add the meat, cover and simmer for 2 hours:
For the last half hour, remove the lid and let it boil to reduce the liquid. Actually I could have used half the stock, the sauce was too thin but I’m not going to split (Pigsy’s) hairs on this one, it was still very tasty!
While you wait an interminable age for the ‘liquor’ to reduce, get the chillies ready:
The pork is looking more like it now…
Its time to serve:
Personally I could have done with a bit more thickness to the sauce but it was sweet and sour and juicy all the same, and the pork was very tender:
Pigsy would have loved it. If he’d been a cannibal (which pigs probably are in Europe, even if they don’t know it). Here is a clip of my favourite pig to finish the evening off…