What is Kong Bak? I suppose you can generally call it Pork Belly Slices in Dark Sauce. What sets it apart is that it is wedged between a bun called Ho Hup Pau (Pau meaning Bun) and eaten just like a kebab. Simcooks has been pestering (reminding, ahem!) me for this recipe. She has a good looking pork belly recipe but my family method of cooking is different. There are actually 3 steps to cooking this dish.
The first step involves “blanching” the pork belly in boiling water for approximately 30 seconds. This will make the meat slightly cooked on the outer side and makes it firm. Otherwise, it is rather wobbly. I think it also removes a bit of unpleasant “porky” smell or taste.
The next step is to prick the pork belly skin with the pointed end of a knife. A fork won’t do unless you’ve got a really sharp fork. Prick it just like how you would prick the skin of a potato. After pricking the skin, fry the whole piece of pork belly for about 20 seconds on each side (skin side and meat side). Then slice the pork belly before marinating it and followed by steaming.
It all sounds like an awful lot of work to do but trust me, it is actually VERY SIMPLE. And you will absolutely love it to bits as long as you don’t mind the smooth as silk fat and meat melting in your mouth as your chomp on the sweet-tasting bun. I am not kidding, the fat can actually melt in the mouth! We had this for Chinese New Year’s Eve and breakfast the next day. Superlicious! Oh by the way, you can get the buns from the cold storage section of bigger supermarkets.
This is my family recipe for Kong Bak with Ho Hup Pau
- 1 kg of pork belly (approximately 1 feet long x 3 inches wide) – cut into 2 pieces for ease of blanching and frying
- 20 pieces of chinese dried mushrooms (pre-soaked till soft, remove stalk)
- Water for blanching
- Oil for frying (semi-deep frying)
- 5 tablespoons dark soya sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
- 2 teaspoons white pepper powder
- 2 teaspoons five spice powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chinese cooking wine
- 3 to 5 cinnamon sticks
- 5 to 8 pieces of star anise
- 2 whole bulbs of garlic
Bring water to boil in wok or pot and blanch the pork belly for approximately 30 seconds. You will notice that the meat is slightly cooked and the skin is slightly toughened. Remove from water and drain. Prick the skin with the sharp end of a knife or sharp fork.
Next, heat up oil in wok and fry the pork belly 20 seconds on each side (skin side and meat side). Remove and place on a rack for to cool and to let excess oil drip. You will notice that the meat and skin is now slightly browned and the whole piece of pork belly is slightly firm.
Cut the pork belly into 1 to 1.5cm-width slices. Place the pork belly slices together with mushrooms in a suitable container and marinade them with the marinate above for at least 2 hours or longer.
After marinating, arrange the pork belly slices on a tray (suitable for steaming) and pour all the marinade over it. Steam it for at least 1 1/2 hours.
To serve, steam to heat up the buns. Prise open the bun just like a kebab bun and place a slice of the kong bak (belly slices) and mushroom into the bun. Savour the most delicious pork belly slice you’ll ever find! I’m drooling just writing about this!
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