Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Crispy Roast Pork (Siew Yuok)
This is my second attempt at trying to make Siew Yuk (in hokkien it is called Sio Bak). The first attempt was for CNY eve's pot luck dinner and it did not turn out as good as I had hoped. The skin was crispy but not as puffy as I would like. It was also a rushed job as I only started making it on the day. Tonight, I am having a childhood friend (with partner) and neighbours/colleagues coming over for dinner. So they will be the food tasters (as I think my hubby cannot be as objective because he doesn't want to hurt my feelings or that a very hungry man always thinks that any food is good food)
I have spent most of my free time during all of last week surfing the net for tips and recipes to get the skin really crispy (that is a really sad admission about the use of my free time, actually). So here are a few tips and ways to get the result that you want.
First of all, you need a good piece of meat with adequate fat. Make sure you make a few cuts on the underside (but not through the rind) so the meat would not curl during the roasting. Apply some five spice powder, pepper and salt to only the underside part of the meat(not too much as the skin will be quite salty)
Secondly, find the sharpest knife you have in the house. Score the rind 3-4mm apart. Other suggested methods are poking the surface with a fork or small knife. I find that a bit time consuming and inconsistent as you may miss a few areas.
Most importantly, the skin needs to be really dry. This can be achieved in different ways. Wipe the skin with some paper towel and air dry with a fan. Alternately, you can store it in the fridge(this is what I did). I attempted to draw more moisture from the skin by applying a thin layer of salt to the surface. In ten minutes, you will see spots of water on the surface. I then wiped off the moisture and reapplied another thin layer of salt. Then store it in the fridge overnight uncovered. This will dry it out further (this step was skipped during my first attempt as I had no time). Some websites suggested that you blanch the pork in boiling water first. I did not do that cause I figured that would be adding moisture to the meat.
The results? Not bad...but it is still not as good as the restaurants. One little area of the skin did not 'pop' or puff up. At least I gave it another go.
These were the comments from my guests:
Neighbours/Colleagues: Super tasty meat. It was pretty hard to stop myself from gorging out!
Crispy Skin pork (in english laymans term) was great, but would have liked nice large slab of "marbled" pork. Skin could do with slightly more salt/MSG to give extra crunch. What can I say, as an obsessed food addict, I was very pleased with dinner on the whole!
Hubby: will comment later, busy eating!
Childhood friend (and partner): Since i'm the only famous media personality here. I'm totally qualified to make a positive judgement on this meal. The food was tasty and healthy, and while I may perhaps need to eat food with a slightly higher fat content, my stomach is quite content. The real childhood friend comment is...great food...extremely satisfied...and would definitely try out the recipe! I want my invite to your next cook out! =)
(I did NOT write any of the comments above- we also had a few glasses of wine)
Crispy Pork (Siew Yuok) Recipe
Prep time: one day ahead
500g pork belly
1 tsp five spice powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Sauce to serve:
2 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
2 tbsp honey
Prepare the pork as mentioned above. Preheat oven to 250 degrees (or the maximum). Place the meat skin side up and roast for 20 mins. Reduce heat to 210 degrees.
Then brush the skin with the vinegar and roast for another 25 mins.
Remove from oven and let it cool for a bit. Chop it into bite size pieces and serve with sauce.
Serve with stir fry greens and steamed rice.
Warning: not recommended to those with high cholesterol