#Indian Spiced Roast #Pork Belly

I usually just make a simple roast pork belly seasoned with salt and pepper, and then jazz it up like in Crispy Asian Pork Belly Salad or serving with a tasty side like braised Italian.red cabbage.

Last night I decided to try adding some Indian flavours by using a sea salt rub and spicy paste, then roasting over a bed of dried chillies, using a similar technique technique to Indian Hunters Style Roast Lamb, but not needing any extra ghee or oil.

The fat from the roasting pork “fries” the dried chillies and curry leaves underneath releasing a smoking, spicy flavour into the pork. There is hardly any fat or oil left when the cooking process is complete as the chillies absorb all the oil.

The resulting pork was slightly spiced and went deliciously with my Pineapple, coconut and chilli sambal and a crispy, crunchy Shredded Brussel Sprout and Green Bean salad.

Prep time: 2 hours including marination cooking time: 2 hours

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:
600g boneless pork belly with the skin scored (Ask your butcher to do that)

Sea Salt Rub
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon fennel powder
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Garlic Spice Paste
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon fennel powder
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable or olive oil

For Roasting:
15 dried red chillies
2 stalks of curry leaves

Method:

Combine sea salt rub ingredients in a small bowl.

Crush garlic with table salt to a paste in a mortar and pestle.

Combine garlic spice paste ingredients in a seperate small bowl

Place pork skin side down on a board.

Pierce meat side of pork with a knife to make lots of little “holes”.

Rub garlic spice paste thoroughly into the meat side of the pork.

Turn pork over.

Pat top of pork (skin side) as dry as you can get, and then rub half of the sea salt mixture into the skin and scored surfaces.

Place pork in fridge uncovered for 1-2 hours or overnight to dry out.

Heat oven to 220 degrees celcius on fan force.

Line a roasting tray that the pork can fit snugly into with foil, then baking paper.

Break dried chillies in half and lay with the curry leaves on the tray in area that pork will be placed on.

Remove pork from fridge, pat top dry again and rub rest of sea salt mixture into the skin side. place pork directly on the bed of dried chillies and curry leaves.

Place in oven to roast for 30 minutes at 220 degrees then reduce heat to 170 degrees for another 1 hour and 20 minutes. Pork should be just cooked by now with juices running clear.

Turn on grill or turn up oven to highest heat to finish off the crackling, watching carefully so the skin puffs up more but doesn’t burn

Remove pork from roasting pan, brushing off all the chillies and curry leaves from the underside, then allow to rest for 10 minutes or so, before sticking into thinking pieces to serve.

Serve with sides such as Pineapple, coconut and chilli sambal or Roasted Cauliflower, Orange and Baby Spinach Salad

Pineapple, coconut and chilli sambal

This is such a delicious accompaniment to roast meats. The combination of sweet pineapple, green chilli, mustard seeds and desiccated coconut is brilliant.

We had it with roast pork belly with crackling tonight and it was a great substitute for the usual apple sauce or red braised cabbage.

Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:1 small can of pineapple pieces

1/2 onion finely chopped

2 green chillies sliced lengthwise

5-6 curry leaves (optional)

1 teaspoon crushed fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon of cummin seeds

1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons desiccated coconut

1/2 cup of water

Method:

Heat oil in pan over medium heat, add cummin seeds and mustard seeds and cook until just fragrant, watch not to burn seeds, then add onions and chillies and cook until onion is translucent.

Add crushed ginger, pinch of salt, sugar and pineapple and heat, then add water and desiccated coconut, cooking until water reduces.

Take off heat and allow to cool to room temperature before serving as an accompaniment…ideal with roast or cold meats.

Ban Xeo Saigon lives up to Bourdain

This street food outlet in District 2, Ho Chi Minh City was made famous by Anthony Bourdain https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aI0u3eaQgcA in 2008. Renowned for their crispy Vietnamese rice flour crepes, Ban Xeo lived up to its reputation on our visit today. Of course it has now been discovered by tourists but the service and quality of the food has stood up to the test.

The ladies are still out the front cooking up a storm over the wood fire and prices are extremely reasonable. We enjoyed the experience and loved the crunchy crepes filled with shrimps, pork and bean sprouts and served with a delicious fish sauce dip and a mountain of fresh lettuce and herbs.

Get over the fact that it is now firmly on the tourist trail and try it when next in Saigon.

https://m.facebook.com/banhxeo46adinhcongtrang/

Indian Green Pork Curry with green beans

This curry is inspired by Lamb and Spinach – another “green” curry that is a family favourite.

The mint and coriander meld with the pork and other spices to create a deliciously fragrant curry. I add green beans for additional “greenness” and serve sprinkled with shards of fresh ginger for added zing, with basmati rice and sweet mango chutney.

Prep time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 1 hr 10 minutes
Ingredients:

500g pork shoulder diced (with or without bones)
2-3 handfuls green beans
1/2 cup white vinegar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion diced
5 cloves garlic and equal amount ginger
2 fresh red chillies
Handful of curry leaves
2 sticks cinnamon (preferably bark)
3 cardamom pods
3 dried red chillies
1 teaspoon panch phoran (Indian Five Spice Mix)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cummin powder
1 bunch coriander
1 bunch mint
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 cups water or chicken stock
Extra ginger cut into fine strips and coriander leaves for garnish

Method:
1. Place pork in a bowl and pour over vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt, set aside while you prepare other ingredients.

2. Crush ginger, garlic and fresh red chillies with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a mortar and pestle.

2. Chop coriander and mint together – I use a Mezzaluna – then add the ginger, garlic and chilli paste and continue to chop together to meld herbs with the paste.

3. Heat vegetable oil in heavy bottom casserole pot, add cinnamon sticks, curry leaves, panch porum, dried red chillies and cardamom and heat until fragrant taking care not to burn the spices.

4. Add onions and cook until soft and translucent.

5. Add cummin, turmeric to onion mixture and stir through cooking out spices for a minute.

6. Add pork, coriander and mint paste to the onion mixture and cook until pork is “sealed” stirring to avoid pork mixture sticking to bottom of the pot.

7. Add enough water or stock to cover pork and bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer and cover the pot with a lid. Cook slowly for an hour, until the pork is tender, adding more water from time to time if the mixture starts to stick.

8. Add green beans and cook for 10 minutes.

9. Check consistency to reduce liquid if required. Taste to see if extra salt required.

9. Garnish with shard of ginger and additional fresh coriander. Serve with basmati rice and sweet mango chutney and Indian pickles.

Brined Pork Chops

I had never thought of brining pork chops before I cook them before but after another recent successful turkey brining experience at Christmas , I though I would try it with pork. Of course then I found a host of articles about how brining is great for adding moisture to pork chops, cutlets and roasts and avoiding having dry pork ever again! (Took me long enough to find out!).
I just brined the chops for half an hour before cooking them and I cannot tell you what a difference it made to browning the chops and creating a delicious sauce to go with them. The chops were juicy and delicious. I can’t wait to try the technique with my next pork roast.

Prep time: 35-40minutes cooking time: 15-20 minutes including making sauce

Brining ingredients:
2 cups water
1/4 cup salt
Juice of half an orange
Half an orange sliced
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tspoon juniper berries
1 tablespoon or so of fresh rosemary leaves
2 pork chops or cutlets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tspoon paprika
1 tspoon dried Italian herbs (mixed or just oregano)
Salt and pepper for seasoning

Sauce
Juice of 1 orange
1/2 tspoon cornflour
1/2 cup of water
Pepper and salt for seasoning

Method:

Mix together brining ingredients and cover pork chops in a single layer, leave in brine for 30 minutes.

Drain off brine and pat chops dry, then rub with olive oil, paprika, dried herbs and black pepper.

Heat heavy based frying pan, then add pork chops and cook for 4 minutes on each side, as well as 1-2 minutes on rind side, check to see if pork is cooked – juices run clear. Allow pork chops to rest in pan, off the heat. Juices will run into pan. Remove chops from pan.

Return pan to stove on medium heat, deglaze with orange juice then add water and using a wooden spoon scrape all the yummy bits from bottom of pan and bring to a simmer.

Mix cornflour with 2 tablespoons of water to a smooth paste and stir into gravy off the heat to avoid lumps from forming. The cornflour thickens the sauce and also gives it a glossy look.

Strain sauce through fine sieve and serve alongside pork chops.

These chops are delicious with rosemary roast potatoes.

Ham and Turkey Pizza

Still getting through the leftover ham and turkey and other bits and pieces in the house…so decided to go Italian with homemade garlic bread, a nectarine and baby spinach salad and a homemade, from scratch, ham and turkey pizza using ingredients from the fridge.

Prep time: 1 hour Cooking time: 20 minutes

Pizza base

Ingredients:

4 cups plain flour
7g yeast (1 sachet)
Pinch of caster sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
400ml warm water
60ml olive oil
Flour for dusting Board

Method:

Place yeast and pinch of caster sugar with half a cup of warm water in bowl and allow to develop until froth forms about 10 minutes

Place flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre of the flour.

Add water to centre of well and then mix gently with your hands until well combined, then add olive oil and knead carefully to make a soft, elastic dough, making sure not to overwork.

Set aside covered with a cloth in a warm spot to allow to rise to almost double its size.

Knead dough back into a smooth round ball and divide in half. This quantity makes 2 good size bases but half the dough can be frozen for later use. (Just thaw for 24 hours in fridge before using)

Gently stretch and pat dough into pizza pan, working and spinning the dough carefully to stretch.

Your pizza base is ready for sauce and toppings.

Pizza sauce:

Ingredients
2 ripe tomatoes
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
2 tsps mixed Italian herbs such thyme, oregano and rosemary – I used a combination of fresh and dried herbs
2 red chillies finely chopped (optional)
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tspoon salt
1 tspoon black pepper
1 cup white wine
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
Bowl of boiling water

Method:

Place tomatoes in boiling water and leave for 10 minutes, then remove skin which will peel off easily.

Cut tomatoes into quarters removing seeds.

Chop tomatoes into a fine dice and set aside

Finely dice onion

Crush garlic in a mortar and pestle or using a garlic press

Heat oil in non-stick pan and then add onions.

Sauté onions until transparent, then add garlic and heat through until fragrant.

Add tomatoes, salt, sugar and herbs and then white wine and water and simmer for 20 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated and tomatoes have softened into a thick sauce. You can also add 1-2 teaspoons of tomato paste or tomato sauce to the mix if you prefer a thicker sauce. Stir occasionally to ensure sauce is not sticking.

Set aside to cool before using on base.

Pizza topping: (use your favourite topping ingredients)

Ingredients

1 cup chopped ham
1/2 cup chopped turkey
3-4 hot pickled peppers chopped finely
2-3 artichokes in brine chopped into bite size pieces
6 anchovies (optional)
4 bocconcini balls or mozzarella
Parmesan cheese for shaving over
Basil leaves for garnish

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 230 degrees celcius

Spread pizza sauce evenly over base

Place toppings on base starting with ham and turkey, then other topping ingredients.

Tear bocconcini and/or sprinkle over mozzarella over the top. Sprinkle salt in bocconcini.

Place in oven for 15-20minutes until base is crispy and cooked through and cheese is melted.

Shave over Parmesan and sprinkle with basil leaves and serve.