Hello! It's been a while since I last did a proper post on my blog. Life has just been a little busy lately, and just when I thought things were starting to wind down, my calendar for the next two months is fast filling up with dates for parties, school events, concerts and birthdays. And when you have three kids like me, multiply that by three and you'd wish weekends were a little longer, and perhaps with a free day for cooking and baking. Last weekend, I managed to find time to prepare these grilled pork belly skewers which were inspired by my recent dining experience at Sake restaurant in Sydney. What I found interesting was the spicy antichucho sauce that was served with the grilled pork (kushiyaki). Antichucho is apparently Peruvian grilled marinated beef hearts, served with a tangy and spicy sauce, I believe. As there is a considerable Japanese influence on Peruvian cuisine (one of Peru's presidents was of Japanese descent), that explains the use of the antichucho sauce in this dish.
I recalled seeing a recipe for antichucho sauce in the cookbook "Nobu Now" which I have adapted below by substituting the aji panca (a type of Peruvian chilli paste) with - Korean red pepper paste! I mean, they are both chilli peppers right? Just of different descent. The sauce turned out pretty good actually, spicy and tangy with a hint of cumin, a flavour I immediately picked up when I tasted the one at Sake. I drizzled some of the sauce onto the tender and fatty grilled pork belly (see also Crispy Roast Pork Belly), topped it with chopped scallions and squeezed some lemon juice over it which lifted the flavours altogether. Mr G tried it and gave it two thumbs up! Try out this dish for your next barbecue this summer!
Grilled Pork Belly Skewers
1kg (2 lbs) pork belly
Sesame oil mixed with a pinch of salt (for brushing)
Chopped scallions/spring onions
Spicy sauce (see recipe below)
- Boil some water in a pot with 2-3 teaspoons salt, and place the pork in the boiling water, making sure it is totally submerged. Boil uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove and drain on a wire rack. Pat dry with a paper towel and leave for about 20 minutes to dry out. Rub about 1/2 tbsp of salt over the meat and skin. Place in the fridge uncovered for 4 hours or overnight.
- Score the skin in a criss-cross diamond pattern with a knife, about 1/2 cm apart. Make sure it cuts through to the fat, as this will allow the fat to render. Rub a little salt and vegetable oil over the skin.
- Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Place on a wire rack skin side up, and pour about 1-2 cups of water into the roasting pan so that it steams the meat in the oven. Place the pan in the middle rack in the oven and roast for 1 hour. Increase temperature to 220C (450F) and roast for another 15 minutes or until skin starts to brown and sizzle. Turn on the grill/broiler on high to crisp up the skin, which should begin to bubble and blister! When it starts to char, and the skin is evenly crisped all over, remove from oven and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes (you can scrape off the blackened charred bits first using a knife).
- Slice the pork into 1 inch cubes. Thread them onto wooden skewers and grill them on the barbecue or non-stick pan until lightly browned on both sides. Arrange on a serving dish. Lightly brush the pork with the sesame oil and salt mixture. Then, drizzle with spicy sauce, garnish with chopped scallions and add a splash of lemon juice.
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 1/2 tbsp gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
1 1/2 tbsp sake
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or white rice vinegar)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp tomato sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp dried oregano
Combine the ingredients above and place in a small pan on medium heat. Fry briefly, then transfer to a small serving dish.