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:
- 8-9 thick cut strips pork belly, cut into 2" pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 heaping tablespoon sesame seeds
- Green onions, 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.