Good evening, dear friends
My family had our first taste of homemade Siew Yoke or Chinese Roast Pork Belly last year when my brother-in-law made some and my eldest son said it was the best Siew Yoke in the world! The homemade version was definitely much more tasty and juicy that those sold at stalls. So, I got the recipe from my brother-in-law and I roasted my own Siew Yoke for the first time last year but the skin didn’t turn out as good as it should be.
Today, I decided to make my own version of Siew Yoke after having read more recipes on this and I am very happy to say that my Crispy Roast Pork Belly or Siew Yoke today was almost perfect … a good second attempt for me. My family, especially my hubby, were happily tucking away into the pieces of Siew Yoke and seeing their happy faces has made me very pleased with this recipe.
If you or your family love eating Siew Yoke, then I would encourage you to try making it at home and I can assure you that it is well worth the effort when they taste your Roast Pork, and you will become the “Super Star” for the night for serving this tasty meat!
Here is my Chinese Roast Pork Belly Recipe. Please note that I always cook a huge portion in my recipes and so, you may like to cut down the portion accordingly. For a small family, I would suggest that you start with just 1 kilogramme of pork belly.
***(Added on 30 December, 2008 - another method on “HOW TO PREPARE YOUR SIEW YOKE FOR ROASTING“.)
*** (Added on 19 April, 2012 – please read my comment # 207 below for my latest, improved, and easier version of preparing your pork belly for roasting )
Ingredients & Method -
** 2 kg Pork Belly with skin – washed and pat very dry. Use a sharp knife and poke through the skin all over, or have your butcher do this for you. On the meat side, make shallow cuts (about 1 cm deep and 1 1/2 cm apart) across the length of the meat
** 2 tbsp salt, for rubbing on pork skin
** 4 tbsp white vinegar, for brushing on pork skin at 20 minutes into roasting
Marinade to be mixed together in a rice bowl -
2 cubes of preserved fermented red beancurd (nam yue)
1 tbsp Chinese 5-spice powder (Ng Heong Fun) – see picture below
1 tbsp white pepper
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsps rice wine
1) Rub marinate all over the meat side of the pork belly for a few minutes.
2) Place pork belly meat side down in a rectangular baking tray.
3) Rub another 2 tbsp salt all over the skin.
4) Place uncovered in the refrigerator overnight until an hour before roasting. The air in the fridge will dry out the pork skin.
5) To roast, preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius or about 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Have both the upper and lower heating elements as well as the fan in the oven on.
6) Place pork belly on a rack in the middle of the oven. Have a pan below to catch the dripping fat during roasting. I placed a piece of aluminium in my pan for easy cleaning later, and I like to save the fat drippings from the roast pork for roasting potatoes for another meal.
Pork Belly roasting about 10 minutes in the oven
*** Note – if your oven does not have a see-through glass door like mine, please check on your pork now and then to prevent burning
7) After 20 minutes have passed, change the oven setting to just the upper heating element or “grill function” or “broil function” on. Brush the white vinegar onto the skin. This will accelerate the cooking process on the pork skin and make it light and crunchy by crackling with bubbles or blisters all over. Occasionally, I opened the oven door slightly for about 10 seconds to let in some fresh air and then closed it back.
You can see about 40% of the skin has become crispy. Actually, the skin is crackling and puffing up with little bubbles.
I have turned the meat around. Whenever I see some liquid fat building up on the skin, I would use some paper kitchen towels to dab it, so that the skin is exposed and gets “bubbling” crispy
8 ) You have to monitor the pork quite often by looking at the progress of the skin in getting crispy. The total time it takes for the skin to get really light and crispy will depend on your oven and how dry the skin was before roasting.
So, look at the skin closely. My butcher told me that the pork skin needs to get charred and burnt as that will mean that the skin has become really crispy all the way through. The last time I made this Siew Yoke, I didn’t wait it for the charring stage and therefore, the skin was still hard to bite on….
When the skin is charred, it means it has cooked all the way through and has became dry and crispy and crunchy. Don’t worry about the burnt parts – use a steak knife that has a serrated edge and you can easily scrape the charred bits off in 2 minutes … and your Siew Yoke will be fine, like in the picture below ===>
Voila! Your yummy homemade Siew Yoke is ready…it took about an hour to for my 2 kg of pork belly to finish cooking. Let it rest for about 15 minutes and then CHOP (don’t slice as the crispy skin will drop off) it into bite sized pieces. See the how the juices run and hear the sound of the crispy crunch as your knife cuts through the skin! Pop a piece into your mouth and savour your own Siew Yoke…. Mmmm…yummy, yes?
See the 3 layers of meat and the thin layer of fat in between? See the crispiness on the skin crackling? They taste absolutely heavenly!
There you have it, a homemade recipe for Siew Yoke or Siao Bak or Crispy Roast Pork Belly. It is actually quite easy to do and it only cost a fraction of what you will pay for if you have bought it from the Roast or Barbequed Meats Stalls outside. But yours will taste the best in the world!
I hope your will try this recipe and impress your family or friends with your homemade Siew Yoke. I had also made a pot of cooling Old Cucumber Soup to balance the heatiness of this dish… The Siew Yoke was the “main star” of my dinner and I just cooked a French Bean stirfry together with some steamed Salted Chicken – all this went well with hot steamed rice! Yummmy…
Bon Appetit! I hope your Roast Pork will turn out heavenly!
With best wishes,
Note added on Sunday, 18 May, 2008 -
I forgot to mention that I like to make a large piece of Siew Yoke and so that I can use some of it to cook my husband’s favourite stirfried noodles for lunch the next day. It is a delicious Hokkien noodle recipe that I had learned from my late mother-in-law, and have ingredients made up of Lai Fun (the dried thick rice vermicelli that is boiled in water so soften), strips of Siew Yoke, lots of diagonally cut leeks, and dried prawns (har mai or heh bee).
Added on 19 April, 2012 :-
You may like to make this easy and yummy cucumber salad below. It’s tangy and sweet taste will help to cut some of the greasy or “jelak” taste of this roast pork, and the cucumber will counter the heatiness of the roast pork dish.