Sous Vide Roast Pork Belly: Perfecting it

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Slicing it this way to insert into the Mantou Bun
I have blogged recently on using the Sous Vide method to make Chinese style Roast Pork Belly (Sio Bak).

Is there a way to do it all in a day? I also wanted to lower the SV temperature to achieve a firmer bite.

Here is how this recipe works:
1. Buy the meat first thing in the morning. Marinate the 5 inch square block (about half a kilo each) in salt, pepper ad 5-spiced powder. I do it on a flat tray: spice, pepper and salt onto the tray and then coat the slabs.

2. Vacuum pack (or wrap tightly in good quality cling film or air-sucked zip-lock bags) and Sous Vide for 72°C for 6 hours.

3. After you are back from work, remove the meats from the bags. Rub more salt on the skin. Place the meats in the oven skin side up to dry the skin. Set the roast option (where the oven circulates the air) at 50°C and leave the oven door slightly ajar. About 1 hour or more. If you do not have the time, you can skip this step but it means you have to grill the meat longer to crisp the skin to and you may end up with a drier meat.

4. Switch to grill option and crank up the temperature to to 200°C. Grill for 20 minutes or till the skin is crisp. To check, use a long pair of tongs to tap on the skin to test if it is hard enough. By now, the skin will char at some parts. This is perfectly okay.

6. Remove from oven. After it cools down, scrape off the charred bits with a knife.

7. Slice the pork skin side down as this is easier.  


Flattening the pork
If you do not have time to dry the skin, you will have to grill longer on the oven. If you prefer puffed up skin, you can prick the skin beforehand. As I like the presentation of a more uniform layer of skin, I will wipe off the oil that gathers on the surface and avoid prickling the pork. It is up to you. You can also use the pan to sear and crisp the skin.

Drying the skin in the Oven.

Perfect: Crackling skin and moist meat with a good bite.

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  1. Wow! You have revolutionized how best to prepare this very traditional dish and make it even better.

  2. Just stumbled onto this website, very nice. I am contemplating getting the Sous Vide Magic, any recommendations on where to get the basic rice cooker? I see that many rice cookers come with complicated functions and would not work with the sous vide magic.

  3. Best get a commercial rice cooker. It has the size, durability and also never has the complicated electronics.

  4. Yeah, agree with Frank. Over here (M'sia and Singapore) these are the cheapest cookers and available everywhere. The ones with the up down switch.

  5. Hi there

    May I ask why you flatten the pork for 2 hours? Is it to stop it from curling when it's cooked sous-vide?

    I believe the meat side of your pork isn't brown. Is it as fragrant as the more conventional way (brown both sides)?

    Thank very much!


  6. Yes, flattening it for better appearance. Actually, I will skip this step the next time I make it.

    When I finish it in the oven, the bottom gets roasted too. But it wont be 'brown', unlike the skin part. It is darker due to the 5-spice marinate.

    In terms of fragrance, I don't think there is a difference. SV method basically gives better control re the texture.

  7. Chanced upon your blog and I felt connected instantly! I am also an avid home cook who love to host and cook for my family and friends. To me, the ultimate pleasure and satisfaction is when you see the 'lost for words' expression on their faces after tasting your creation.

    My late mother (from M'sia too!) was not as good a cook as yours but I still miss her and her home cooked food very much. Food always bring back childhood memories and that's the reason I like your blog - It's not just the food or recipes, it's the stories and memories behind them.

    You have a new follower...

    Do visit my blog and exchange ideas:

  8. Hi there. Not sure how I missed this comment. Will link up yr blog to mine and sure...great to exchange ideas.