Monday, 15 June 2015

Spicy Asian Fusion Oven Grilled Pork Belly Strips

To most Koreans, the pepper paste they use (Gochujang) is considered to be very spicy. To someone like me who grew up using Jerk Seasoning, and eating Habanero chili pepper on an almost daily basis, the paste is not spicy at all. Whenever I use Gochujang, I have to spice it up with other types of peppers, and pepper sauces to both strengthen the “heat” and cut back on the slightly sweet taste that the Gochujang has. I also don’t like the taste of the Asian Pears that are used traditionally in Korean cuisine to make Bulgolgi marinade so I omit it. The ingredients used in the marinade are based on the Pan-Asian concept of combining sweet, salty, spicy and sour flavors.

This recipe for oven grilled pork belly strips is neither stir-fried nor grilled on an open BBQ. Instead it is done in the oven using my standard combination of steam-baking (helps to infuse the marinade into the pork, and renders the fat), and final broil (crisps up the strips and gives them a final char). This method makes it easier for apartment dwellers to prepare. I eat it in a lettuce wrap with a julienned cucumber, rice vermicelli, and Vietnamese pickle mustard greens or Kim Chee, topped with Sriracha pepper sauce or red Habanero pepper sauce. I guess this is an Asian Fusion dish with a Jamaican flair, given that I have added the Habanero Chili pepper to the marinade. 

1 lb pork belly slices (you can either slice it yourself or buy it ready sliced from Asian supermarkets)

5 shallots
7 cloves garlic
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 Habanero chili with seeds
½ tsp black pepper
2 tsp sesame oil
1-1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled
½ cup scallion greens
½ tbsp thick soya sauce
1 tbsp dark soya sauce
1 tbsp Sriracha pepper sauce
3 tbsp Korean pepper paste (Gochujang)
1 tbsp Marukan Japanese vinegar

  1. Put all the ingredients for the marinade in a small chopper and blend to a puree. Pour marinade over pork strips and massage well into the pork (I put the marinade puree and pork strips in a Ziploc plastic bag and then mix it well through the bag). Marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
    Pork belly strips marinating in Ziploc bag
  2. Set oven to 425 degrees f. Line a 9”X13” roasting pan with foil and empty pork strips and marinade from the Ziploc bag. Cover roasting pan with foil and steam bake in oven for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove foil and quickly broil pork strips just enough to get a light char (see photo).
  4. Eat with a lettuce wrap and condiments of your choice. (see photo)
    Pork belly strip, lettuce wrap, cucumber, rice vermicelli, pickled mustard greens and Sriracha
    It can also be used in a salad. The good thing about this is the oil from the pork belly strips is left behind, and discarded (see photo).
    Oil to be discarded

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