A stuffed pork belly with a fresh and fragrant Thai filling and crispy crackling? You betcha. This ultimate roast pork will be your tabletop showstopper at any family event. Why wait until Christmas?!
2kg (4 lb 6 oz) piece skin-on pork belly
grilled lime halves, to serve
10 dried long red chillies
3cm (just over 1”) piece galangal, skin removed, finely chopped
1 lemongrass stalk, pale part bruised, finely chopped
3 Asian red shallots, roughly chopped
2 coriander roots
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3 makrut lime leaves, destemmed, sliced
finely grated zest of ½ makrut lime (or regular lime)
½ tsp shrimp paste
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
Spiced coconut sauce:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup coconut milk
2 tsp palm sugar, finely shaved
1 tbsp fish sauce
To make the spice paste, soak the dried chillies in hot water for 10-15 minutes or until softened. Remove the chillies from the water (it doesn’t matter if you don’t drain them completely as some water is fine). Reserve the chilli soaking water. Roughly chop the chillies and then place them into the bowl of a food processor. Then add the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth, adding some of the chilli soaking water a tablespoon at a time if the ingredients aren’t blending smoothly.
Pat the pork belly dry with paper towel. Slice off about a 3cm-thick (just over 1”) piece of pork belly (we’ll be using it to stuff the larger piece) and remove the skin. Then use a ruler and a Stanley knife to score the pork rind on the larger piece at 0.5–1cm (about 3/16”) intervals.
Flip the large piece of pork over so it’s skin side down. Spread the spice paste over the pork (save about ¼ cup of the paste to use for a sauce later on). Place the small skinless piece of pork belly in the centre. Roll the larger piece of pork belly over the filling. Tie with kitchen string at 4cm (1.5”) intervals (watch my video for a handy technique!). Place the pork on a large roasting tray lined with paper towel. Generously season the pork rind with salt, being sure to rub the salt into the score marks. Transfer to the fridge and keep in there, uncovered, overnight to dry out the skin (if you cover it, the moisture won’t have anywhere to go).
The following day, preheat oven to 200°C/390°F. Remove pork from the fridge and use paper towel to pat the pork skin dry.
Scrunch up some foil into two thick cylinders and add to the base of a roasting pan – these will act as a trivet to keep the air circulating around the meat. Add the pork on top. Roast the pork for 20 minutes or until the crackling starts to form (rotate the roasting tray after 10 minutes to help the crackling crisp up evenly). Reduce the heat to 170°C/340°F. Roast for a further 90 minutes.
When the pork is almost ready, it’s time to make the sauce. In a medium saucepan, add the vegetable oil and place over a low-medium heat. Add the ¼ cup of reserved curry paste and gently heat for 1-2 minutes until lovely and fragrant. Pour in the coconut milk, then add the palm sugar and fish sauce. Stir until well combined and simmer for around 5 minutes to allow all the flavours to make friends with one another. Transfer to a serving jug or bowl.
Remove pork from oven and leave to rest for 20-30 minutes. Remove the cooking string and thinly slice. Transfer to a serving plate along with grilled lime halves and the sauce.
– If you can’t find fresh galangal in your area, you could use fresh ginger instead. While it’s a different flavour, it will still taste great in this recipe!