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Bak zhang porchetta

epicure 4 August 2015
Cuisine ,
Type of Meal
Vegetarian-friendly No

For intense flavour, add crab and lobster shells to your fumet or seafood stock.

Think of this as a reverse dumpling, where sticky glutinous rice is encased in pork belly instead of the other way round. The secret to perfect crackling: dousing the skin in a baking soda solution, rubbing it with salt and letting it dry completely before applying a final blast of heat.

Serves 8 Prep time 1 hour + 24 hours chill time & 4 hours soak time
Cook time 3 hours 45 minutes

glutinous rice stuffing
3 tbsp vegetable oil
50g dried mushrooms, soaked for 2 hours (reserve soaking liquid)
50g dried prawns, soaked for 2 hours (reserve soaking liquid)
1 cup glutinous rice, soaked for 4 hours
3 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce

  • In a pan, heat vegetable oil. Add drained dried mushrooms (without soaking liquid) and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add drained dried prawns (without soaking liquid) and stir-fry for another 3 minutes.
  • Add glutinous rice, oyster sauce and soy sauce. Fry until sauces are well combined throughout the rice.
  • Add soaking liquids from both mushrooms and dried prawns. Reduce heat and cook until liquid has completely evaporated. Remove from heat and let cool.

1 tbsp baking soda
250ml hot water
1 piece boneless pork belly, approximately 3kg, skin-on
3 tbsp white vinegar
3 tbsp sea salt
50g chestnuts, cooked and peeled
4 salted egg yolks

  • Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Score the skin of your pork belly using a paring knife. Place the pork belly skin side up on your board, and pour baking soda solution over, followed by the vinegar.
  • Pat the skin of the pork belly dry and rub sea salt over it. Carve out a hollow recess in your pork belly to prevent stuffing spillage.
  • Place glutinous rice stuffing into the recess of your pork belly, studding it with chestnuts and salted egg yolks.
  • Roll the belly tightly and secure with butcher’s twine. Pat skin dry and place in a fridge for at least 24 hours to dry out the skin.
  • Before cooking, remove pork belly from the fridge and bring to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 160°C in the meantime.
  • Place porchetta on a roasting rack so the skin doesn’t come into contact with its drippings during the roasting process. Cook for 3 hours.
  • Increase temperature to 200°C. Continue rotating porchetta in the oven so its skin is evenly exposed to the grill and turns a blistering brown, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes on a cooling rack.


Read more in the August 2015 issue of epicure.

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