You’ll need a bit of patience with this recipe as you can’t rush the marinading of the pork, and it needs a little bit of time in the oven to get the best, crispiest skin.
Make sure you buy a piece of pork belly that has a good layer of fat and meat in it. The belly should be 3–3.5cm thick at least.
Prep time: 10 minutes, plus 2 hours chilling | Cooking time: 40-45 minutes, plus 15 minutes resting
1kg pork belly
2 tbsp rice wine (shaoxing or sake) or vodka
2 tbsp sea salt
For the marinade
2 garlic cloves, finely crushed
2 tsp finely chopped root ginger
2 tsp salt 1 tsp five-spice powder
½ tsp white pepper
Rinse the pork belly and pat dry with kitchen paper. Use a skewer or the end of a sharp knife to prick the skin all over, then rub the skin with the wine. Score vertically the inner portion of the meat. Do not score the skin.
Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Rub evenly over the meat, particularly into the scored underside. Do not rub the marinade on the skin. You want to keep this dry. Place the pork on a tray, skin side up. Leave to marinate, uncovered, in the fridge for 2–6 hours to dry out the skin.
Preheat the oven to 230C/210C fan/Gas 8.
Fill a roasting tin with water, around 2cm deep, then place a roasting rack in the pan. Place the pork belly on the rack, skin side up. Spread the salt over the skin. Roast for 20 minutes or until a white salt layer has formed on the skin.
Remove the meat from the oven. Using a small knife, gently scrape off the white salt layer from the skin. Put the meat back on the roasting rack and roast for a further 20–25 minutes or until the bubbles that form on the skin pop. The skin should be golden brown at this stage.
Remove from the oven and leave the pork belly to rest for 15–20 minutes before cutting it up into serving portions of 3cm thick slices. It will be easiest to cut the pork by placing it skin side down and using a heavy cleaver or knife.
Recipe from Makan: Recipes from the Heart of Singapore by Elizabeth Haigh (Bloomsbury Absolute, £26). Order a copy from books.telegraph.co.uk.