Boiled pork belly with garlic sauce (蒜泥白肉) is one of my favourite Sichuan cuisine dishes. It’s absolutely delicious and it’s also a very popular dish in both Chinese and Taiwanese households.
This dish originates from Sichuan in China, but it has become very popular in Taiwan. The main ingredient of this dish is pork but when people think about “pork belly” they normally think of a dish that is very rich, heavy and greasy to eat. But this dish is served cold with delicious garlic sauce and cucumber so it’s much lighter than you may think and is a very popular summer dish in the East.
Traditionally in China during religious ceremonies and events, people will offer cooked chicken, meat and fruit for the Buddha. One of the popular foods to offer to the Buddha is boiled pork belly and after the ceremony has finishes, Chinese people will make a dish out of the boiled pork belly and this boiled pork belly with garlic sauce is one of the popular dishes.
When I was young I thought the way to prepare this dish is to just use water to boil the pork belly until it’s cooked. After my grandfather taught me how to cook this dish I found out it’s not as easy as just cooking the pork belly in water. But trust me, it’s not that complicated to make so follow my instructions and you should have no problem at all.
My grandfather taught me to “season” the water when cooking the pork belly. So in this recipe you can see I added a few ingredients including rice wine, salt, star anise, cardamom pods, spring onions and ginger to the water. Of course if you don’t want to prepare so many ingredients you can just add rice wine, spring onions and ginger (or even just ginger and rice wine) when boiling the pork.
When cooking you need to bring the pork belly to a boil over a high heat and then simmer for about 1 hour. You can use a chop stick to poke the pork belly while cooking and if the chop stick can go through the pork belly then the pork belly is ready.
Try to slice the pork belly as thin as possible so you won’t feel the pork belly is so greasy and heavy to eat. Crushed peanut is an optional extra but it does add extra flavour and texture to the dish. If you have a peanut allergy or think it’s too much hassle then just leave it. It won’t affect the flavour of this dish too much.
There are many different ways to make the garlic sauce and this recipe was taught to me by my grandfather. You can add some chili oil or Sichuan pepper oil if you like your food hot and spicy.
As usual, you can adjust the seasonings for this dish to suit your personal taste.
- 5 cups water
- 1 tablespoon rice wine
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 star anise
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1 ounce/30 grams spring onion
- 2 knobs ginger (each about 1 in)
- 2 pounds 3 ounces pork belly
- 1 cucumber (thinly sliced)
- Optional: 1 tablespoon roasted crushed peanuts
- For the Garlic Sauce:
- 3 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon black vinegar
- 1 drizzle white sesame oil (or blended sesame oil)
- 1 ounce/30 grams garlic (peeled and finely chopped)
- Place the water, rice wine, salt, star anise, cardamom pods, spring onion and ginger into a stockpot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add the pork belly and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 1 hour until the pork is cooked. Test by piercing the pork with a chopstick. The chopsticks should go through the meat easily. Set aside to cool. Reserve stock.
- Place all the ingredients for the garlic sauce in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of stock from the stockpot and mix well. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.
- Using a sharp knife, slice the cooled pork into 3mm (1/8-in) thick slices.
- Arrange the pork on a serving plate with the cucumbers. Garnish with crushed peanuts if desired. Serve with the garlic sauce.
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Total Fat||176 g|
|Saturated Fat||52 g|
|Unsaturated Fat||78 g|
|Dietary Fiber||1 g|