Crispy pork, Siu Yuk (Cantonese) or Sio Bak (Hokkien) literally means burn the meat. In most Chinese household, Siu Yuk will be featured during special occasions eg Chinese New Year, Qing Ming (all soul’s day) as an offering for prayers. In my family, during Qing Ming, without fail, Siu Yuk will be offered to my late grandparents. I’m not sure what the significant is but it sure does feed the hungry family members – US! Haha! Once my late grandparents have “finish their meal”, the feast for us begins. We will have breakfast at the graveyard (think: picnic at an inappropriate setting) consuming whatever food that is offered to my late grandparents. Well, no prize for guessing what everyone is eyeing on! My aunt will always bring a knife along and yes, it is for the Siu Yuk. Talking about pre-empting here! Haha 😀
Anyway, few weeks ago, while at the market with the husband, I casually asked if he wants to have Siu Yuk for dinner and to my surprise, he said Yes! For the benefits of those who do not know the husband, he is a salad and sandwich guy! Boring eh! So, off we went to get a slab of pork belly from the butcher – 2kg for 20 over dollars. The husband thought it was expensive. I’m not sure what the market rate is but one thing is for sure, it definitely cost more than 20 bucks for a 2 kg Siu Yuk!
Homemade Siu Yuk may sound daunting but it’s not rocket science, it is a lot easier than you’d imagined. It’s all about getting the marinade right and the skin REAL dry. The first time I made this I got the steps mixed up. The skin was crispy when it’s fresh from the oven but it gets tough after a while. This time round, I made sure I followed the steps to the dot and I did an extra step. I read from somewhere that the trick to super crispy skin is to char the skin and then using a serrated knife to scrape off the charred bits. The result? Amazingly crispy skin, not even a tad of chewiness! I was happy with the end product and so did the salad and sandwich husband!! 🙂
If you are interested, here’s the recipe for the Non-Rocket Science Crispy Pork:-
2 kg pork belly, with rind on
2 tbsp sea salt
2 tbsp Chinese rice wine vinegar
2-2.5 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
2-3 pieces red fermented bean curd
½ tbsp five spice powder
½ tbsp chopped garlic
1. Mix all the marinade in a bowl and set aside.
2. Clean the pork belly thoroughly, scrapes the skin with a knife to get rid of any impurities or hair. Pat dry all over with a kitchen towel.
3. Score the meat (horizontally & diagonally). Do not score the skin.
4. Rub the skin with sea salt all over. Pat dry.
5. Rub the marinade evenly onto the meat right into the incisions. (Do not rub the marinade onto the skin)
6. Marinate for about 30 minutes or longer.
7. Roast the marinated pork belly with skin side up in a preheated oven at 220C for 20 minutes.
(Using a roasting tin, I put some water in the tin and placed the pork belly on the rack. The water helps the meat to be tender and moist, while allowing the oil to drip for easy cleaning)
8. Remove from oven and prick all over the skin with a fork. (The more pricks the better. More blisters will appear on the skin)
9. Brush the skin with rice wine vinegar.
10. Return to the oven and roast with skin side up at 250C for another 20.
11. Change the oven mode to grill, and grill the pork belly with skin side up for a further 5-10 minutes.
12. Keep an eye on the pork belly, do not over charred it.
13. Remove and let the pork rest for 15-20 minutes. Using a serrated knife, scrape off the charred bits.
14. Using a large knife, chop (do not slice) the pork into bite sized.
15. Eat to your heart’s content!!!