Caramelised pork belly

Caramelised pork belly

Man Food
Billy Law

I love pork crackling just as much as I love velvety soft and tender, melt-in-the-mouth pork belly after it’s been braised for a long period of time in a flavourful Chinese master stock. All you need is a bowl of steamed rice to soak up all the sweet and sticky sauce while enjoying the gelatinous porky goodness.


Quantity Ingredient
1kg boneless pork belly
155g soft brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 red bird’s eye chillies, sliced
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
handful coriander leaves
large red chilli, thinly sliced
bok choy, steamed, to serve
jasmine rice, to serve

Master stock

Quantity Ingredient
375ml light soy sauce
375ml shaoxing rice wine
80ml dark cooking caramel
75g chinese rock sugar
5 spring onions, white parts only
5 cm piece fresh ginger, sliced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
1 teaspoon white peppercorns


  1. To make the master stock, place all the ingredients in a large stockpot, fill with 3 litres water and bring to the boil over a high heat. Then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the pork belly to the master stock, reduce the heat to low and gently simmer for 1 1⁄2 hours or until tender and yielding. Remove the pork belly from the stock and set aside to cool. Reserve 250 ml of the master stock. (Save the rest in a sealed container in the freezer for next time.) Cut the pork into 1 cm thick slices.
  3. Meanwhile, bring the reserved stock, brown sugar, honey, fish sauce, lime juice and bird’s eye chilli to the boil in a saucepan. Simmer over a medium–high heat until the sauce is reduced to only 125 ml, about 10 minutes. Add the pork belly to the pan and ladle the caramelised sauce over the top to make sure it is evenly coated.
  4. Serve the pork belly with steamed bok choy and rice. Garnish with spring onion, coriander and the remaining chilli.


  • Dark cooking caramel is similar to soy sauce, but is very thick in consistency, much like caramel. The sauce is salty but not as sweet as kecap manis. The Cheong Chan brand — which has a red label on a glass bottle — is the most common dark cooking caramel available that you’ll find at most Asian grocers.
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