2 October 2015

3.01 Twice-Cooked Mandarin Pork Belly – Advanced – Meat & Poultry

I was having an Asian-inspired dinner party and wanted to do something that seemed semi-traditional and put my own spin on it. I tried at least 3 different versions of this dish before I think I finally got it right.

While this is Asian-inspired, the “mandarin” component refers to the fruit, not the language. The pork belly is first poached gently for 2 hours, before being glazed and roasted, much like a ham.


2x 310g tins of mandarin segments (in juice or syrup)
1 long red chilli, sliced in half lengthways (with seeds)
3-4cm piece of ginger, cut into discs
200g honey
200ml rice wine vinegar

For the record, I tried this with fresh mandarin and it didn’t turn out too well. Don’t be afraid to reach for tinned foods occasionally! Sometimes it's the only way to get the result you want.


1. Place all ingredients in a pot over high heat and bring to the boil.

2. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1-2 hours or until thick.

3. Remove it from the heat and allow to cool, then transfer to a bowl using a sieve, cover, and place into refrigerator until needed.



1kg pork belly
1 cup chinese cooking wine
1 cup soy sauce
2 mandarins, peeled and crushed
2 spring onions
3cm ginger, cut into discs
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 long red chilli, sliced in half lengthways (with seeds)
approx. 2 litres cool water

If you want it to look nice and neat at the end, try to get a square piece of pork belly. You may need to cut it in half if that makes it easier fit into the pot for poaching.

The actual amount of water you'll need depends on the size of the pot you are using, as well as the size of the pork belly itself. You'll need enough to cover the pork belly to ensure that it poaches evenly


1. Place the pork belly into a large pot, then pour over the rice wine and soy sauce.

2. Add the mandarins, ginger, garlic, chilli and spring onions, then top up with water until the pork belly is covered. (It will want to float, but I’m sure you can judge when you have enough water.)

3. Place the pot onto a high heat and bring to the boil.

4. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot and allow the pork belly to poach for 2 hours. (Turn it down REALLY low, so that it’s only just simmering.)

5. Remove the pork belly from the pot and allow to cool slightly before removing most of the excess fat from the top. (You want to retain a bit which will melt in the oven.)

6. Place aside until you are ready to roast it. (Can be kept in the fridge overnight, but you'll need to bring it up to room tempersture before continuing to Phase 2. You may want to strain the poaching broth and keep it in the freezer for another time.)


1 tbsp chinese five spice powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt

These ingredients are to add an extra layer of flavour to the pork in the form of a dry rub. If you don’t want to do this, then I suppose it isn’t really necessary.


1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a baking tray with baking paper or foil. (This stops the glaze from baking onto the dish, which can be difficult to clean off.)

2. Mix together the spice powder, garlic powder, ground ginger and salt.

3. Rub the mixture over the pork belly until coated evenly. (You will likely have quite a lot of the spice powder left over, but you can store it in an airtight container and use it however you like.)

4. Brush the pork belly with the mandarin glaze until generously coated. (Once again, you may not use it all here.)

5. Roast the glazed pork belly in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until browned. (Keep an eye on it, the honey can make it burn very quickly.)

6. Dice into cubes approx. 4cm (1 ½ inch) and serve with jasmine rice and something green. (I would recommend steaming some Asian vegetables such as bok choy, choy sum, pak choy, etc.)

Serves 4-6 depending on the size of the pork belly you bought and/or your generosity in serving it.

A video of this recipe is also available - https://youtu.be/jX4KYurle9o.

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