Babi Pongteh Ang Moh-Style

by Xinyu on 08th Nov, 2012

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braise garlic grill green chilli tao cheor babi pongteh pork pork belly

The second main course for our dinner with Jie Siang and Dianne. We've made babi pongteh before, but this time round we decided to go with a more "western" (aka ang moh) way of preparing it. Fresh pork belly was used, first braised with tao cheor, then left to sit overnight to absorb the flavours of the braising liquid before being grilled at high heat to caramelize the surface. Babi pongteh is traditionally served with slices of green chilli; we instead made a green chilli vinaigrette with bits of freshly chopped green chilli in it to add an intense acidity that went perfectly with the oily and salty cubes of pork belly.

Green Chilli Vinaigrette

green chilli , white vinegar , light-tasting oil (don't use extra virgin olive oil) , salt
green chilli
['green chilli']
white vinegar
['white vinegar']
light-tasting oil (don't use extra virgin olive oil)

Cut all but one of the green chilli into slices. Heat up the vinegar, then pour it into a bowl/jar with the green chilli slices. Let sit till cool and the chilli pickles and turns a pale green. The resultant green chilli vinegar should be sour, taste slightly spicy and have the aroma of the green chilli.

Finely chop the remaining green chilli, removing all the seeds.

Remove the pickled green chilli slices from the vinegar and discard (or use them in some other dish). Add vinegar to a mixing bowl with a bit of salt. Whisk while slowly adding the oil, to get a vinaigrette. Mix in the chopped green chilli.

Babi Pongteh Ang Moh-Style

pork belly (whole slabs) , tao cheor (fermented soy beans) , garlic , coriander powder , light soy sauce , dark brown sugar , pork stock , green chilli vinaigrette
pork belly (whole slabs)
['pork belly']
tao cheor (fermented soy beans)
['tao cheor']
coriander powder
['coriander powder']
light soy sauce
['light soy sauce']
dark brown sugar
['dark brown sugar']
pork stock
['pork stock']
green chilli vinaigrette
['green chilli vinaigrette']
Mash tao cheor into a paste. Coarsely chop garlic.

Add a bit of oil to a pot and heat. Brown pork belly on all sides, then set aside. Add garlic to fry, then the tao cheor, and finally deglaze with pork stock and a bit of light soy sauce. Add a bit of coriander powder. Taste and make sure liquid is sufficiently salty and has enough tao cheor flavour; if not, add more tao cheor. Immerse the pork belly slabs fully in the braising liquid; add more pork stock if needed to cover the pork belly, remembering to adjust the seasoning too.

Braise pork belly for a few hours until tender but not yet breaking apart (alternatively, pressure cook at high for 30 minutes). The pork fat should be meltingly soft.

Place pork belly and braising liquid in a container, making sure the pork belly is still fully immersed in the braising liquid. Leave it in the fridge overnight, or at least 6 hours.

The next day,  remove pork belly from the braising liquid and put aside to dry. Note: The braising liquid might have solidified in the fridge; leaving it out for a while or immersing the container in warm water should help re-liquiefy it.

Add some of the braising liquid to a pan and heat. Reduce, and add dark brown sugar to create a baste for the meat. The baste should be cloyingly sweet and fairly salty; an important component of babi pongteh is its sweetness and the baste will be the only source of sugar we use. The baste can be thickened by whisking in a bit of oil. Leave to cool slightly.

Cut the pork belly into cubes. Add to the pan with the baste, heat off, and mix to get the cubes evenly coated with the baste. Its important the pan is not too hot at this point, or else the meat might start to break apart.

Remove the pork belly, and add some additional braising liquid to the leftover baste to thin it out and make a serving sauce.

Place the basted pork belly cubes in a tray, skin side facing up. Brush the skin with a bit of oil to help with crisping. Place in an oven at 200°C and grill till carmelized and crispy.

Serve by placing pork belly cubes in the serving sauce, and drizzling the green chilli vinaigrette on top.
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