Sticky spiced pork belly and watermelon
Serves 4 | prep 20 mins | total time
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 5cm piece of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
- 1 rounded tsp Chinese five-spice
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp clear honey
- 2 tbsp Chinese black rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- 1.2-1.5kg boneless pork belly, skin scored
- Sea salt flakes
For the salad
- ½ baby watermelon, chilled, skinned and cut into bite-sized cubes
- 4 spring onions, sliced
- 1 large red chilli, deseeded and sliced
- 4cm piece of fresh ginger, cut into fine matchsticks
- 3 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- Juice of 1 lime, plus extra to serve
- 2-3 tsp black or toasted white sesame seeds
- 3 tbsp roughly chopped coriander
- Start by marinating the pork. Tip the garlic and ginger into a baking tray or shallow bowl that will fit the pork belly lying flat and snuggly. Add the five-spice, soy sauce, honey and vinegar and mix to combine. Lay the pork in the tray or bowl, skin-side uppermost – avoid getting the marinade on the skin as it can make it scorch when cooked – cover with clingfilm and leave to marinate overnight in the fridge.
- The next day, line a roasting tin with a double thickness of foil and sit a roasting or wire rack on top. Remove the pork from the marinade, lay it on top of the rack, skin-side uppermost, and leave for 1 hour at room temperature to dry the skin. Transfer the marinade to a small pan with 50ml water, heat gently until boiling, then simmer rapidly for 10 minutes to make a syrup sauce for the pork. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C, fan 200°C, gas 7. Sprinkle the pork skin lightly with sea salt flakes and roast for 20 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven. Reduce the temperature to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4, and cook the pork for another hour until the skin has crisped and the meat is cooked through. If the skin hasn't crisped up, you can put it under a preheated grill for a few minutes.
Tip Chilling the melon before serving creates a refreshing contrast to the salty, spiced pork.
- Meanwhile, for the salad, tip the prepared watermelon, spring onions, chilli and ginger into a bowl and use your hands to very gently mix. Combine the sesame oil, soy sauce and lime juice in a cup, but don't pour over the salad until just before serving, otherwise the watermelon will become soggy.
- Once the pork is cooked, leave it to rest for 10 minutes and then cut into small bite-sized pieces and toss with the warm syrup sauce. Pour the dressing over the salad and divide between 4 serving plates. Arrange the pork on top, scatter with the sesame seeds and coriander and serve immediately with extra lime on the side.