Chinese-style roast pork has long been one of my favorite recipes and for a number of good reasons: it tastes amazing, it feeds a crowd, and it’s an amazingly simple dish to make. The recipe I’ve been using for the past several years is one I found in the recipe anthology towards the back of Time-Life’s The Good Cook: Pork. It was penned by a Yank rather than anyone Chinese, but the ingredients and flavors are totally Oriental: soy sauce, hoisin paste, and Chinese five-spice powder.
As good as it tasted, though, I couldn’t help but feel that my pork roasts tended to be a tad on the dry side. That said, I’ve pored over numerous cookbooks and food magazines to figure out what I’ve been doing wrong and how in blazes I could get pork that was magnificently succulent on the inside and caramel-sticky and burnished on the outside.
One winter issue of Donna Hay magazine gave me the answer I needed: a longer soaking time and continuous basting whilst the roast was in the oven or turbo-broiler. As tedious as it sounds, actually brushing the meat every five minutes with the residual marinade amps up the flavor; plus, I got the wonted burnished, sugary-sticky crust that ensures all the juices are locked within. Needless to say that the finished dish – made with slabs of fatty, rich-tasting pork belly – was a magnificent success.
Oh, and these babies are portable, too. I packed a quarter-slab over some rice for a tuck-box lunch for work the next day. 😉
Sticky Hoisin Pork Roast
- 1/4 kilo pork belly slices (the thick ones)
- 1-1/2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey or golden syrup
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Place the pork in a large non-reactive bowl. Whisk together the other ingredients and pour over the pork; massage well into the meat. Leave to soak for at least four hours or overnight.
Pre-heat your oven or turbo-broiler to 375 degrees / Gas Mark 5. If using an oven, place the pork in a roasting pan; if using a turbo-broiler, set the pork slices on the rack in the main chamber – be sure to reserve the marinade. Cook for 40 minutes, basting with the leftover marinade every five minutes; turn the pork after the first 20 minutes of cooking time to ensure that the meat is cooked evenly.
Serve immediately so as to enjoy the full syrupy goodness of the pork.