It seems like a million years has passed since I’ve had pork belly. I remember the first time I had it; in fact, I remember it very well. John.e and I had just started dating. We were spending the weekend with my daughter and were invited to attend a birthday party at a horse-race venue that Sunday afternoon. So, on our ride back to Toronto from Kitchener, we made our way to Woodbine Race Track to help celebrate Vera’s 40th birthday. (Vera is a coworker and an extreme betting enthusiast!)
We placed a few bets – and won a few – and took part in a buffet dinner. One of the items on the menu was barbequed pork belly. The name was off putting, but I had to try it. I’d have a safe bet if I said I ate a pound or two of the stuff. In fact, I’m sure I gained a pound or two from that one meal, so that’s proof, right? 🙂
Recreating the dish was not something I was about to attempt. It’s one of those things that is best left untouched. Besides, it gives me a reason to harass Vera about hosting another one of her birthdays at Woodbine! This particular dish uses pork belly, but I wanted to have a spicy version to accompany some good steamed rice. I previously cooked a Korean Vegetarian Beef dish that I loved the taste of, so without following that recipe, I wanted to mimic those flavours. This is what I came up with:
Asian Inspired Chili-Spiced Pork Belly
- 8 strips thick cut pork belly, cut into 2" pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 stalks green onions, finely sliced
Place all of the ingredients (except the sesame seeds, pork belly, and green onions) into a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
Add the pork belly pieces and toss to coat with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for one hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
Arrange the pork belly on the baking sheet being careful not to overlap.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, carefully turn each piece over, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with sesame seeds, saving just a few for garnish, and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes.
Serve on steamed rice and garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions.