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Slow-roasted Sichuan Sweet & Sour Pork


  • 1kg piece pork belly
  • 1 tbsp sea salt, plus 1 tsp extra
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander (cilantro)
  • 1 tbsp finely sliced spring onion (scallions)

Sweet and sour sauce:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp finely julienned fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp doubanjiang chilli bean paste*
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp Chinese Shaoxing cooking wine*
  • 1 tbsp Chinese ‘Chinkiang’ black vinegar*
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tsp corn flour (cornstarch) mixed with 2 tbsp water


Preparing the spices


Preheat oven to 150°C/300°F


Use a utility knife (or other sharp knife) and a ruler to score the pork skin at roughly 1cm intervals. Place the pork, rind side up in a baking dish. Rub the 1 tablespoon of salt well into the rind. Pour enough water to come halfway up the sides of the pork. Add the star anise into the water. Cover with a piece of baking paper and then a piece of foil. Seal well. Roast for 3 hours or until very tender.


Transfer the pork to a tray to cool. Place another tray on top and weight with cans. Place in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.


Preheat oven to 220°C/430°F. Cut the pork into squares and place on a baking tray. Sprinkle over the 1 tsp of salt. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and crisp.


In the meantime, for the sauce, heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add the doubanjiang and stir. Add the stock, Shaoxing wine, vinegar, soy sauce and sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the corn flour mixture and cook, stirring for 2 minutes or until the mixture thickens.


Transfer the pork to a platter. Drizzle with the sauce and sprinkle over the spring onion and coriander.


*NOTES – Doubanjiang is a type of fermented chilli bean paste from Sichuan province in China. You can find it online or from most Asian grocery stores. If unavailable, substitute half miso paste and half chilli paste (e.g. sambal oelek). Chinese Shaoxing cooking wine is available online or from an Asian grocery store. Chinese Chinkiang black vinegar is available online or from an Asian grocery store. If unavailable, substitute half white vinegar and half balsamic vinegar.

Serve hot with rice. Enjoy!

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