Thai Braised Pork Belly are tender pieces of pork slow cooked in a flavorful sauce of soy sauce, rice vinegar, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, and cilantro. Serve it with jasmine rice and your favorite sauteed fresh veggies for an easy dinner. Leftovers make the best fried rice too!
"You had me at pork belly"- Dorothy in Jerry Maguire
Okay, I know she said "hello" but it should have been pork belly. I mean seriously, it's pork belly y'all!
What else do you need in life besides some pork and fat?? I get all jelly in the knees over it, especially when it's slow cooked and oh so tender, like this Thai Braised Pork Belly. I'm a big fan.
What is pork belly?
Pork belly is the boneless cut of fatty meat from the belly of a pig. It is commonly used for bacon or salt pork in the United States, but it's popularity has surged over the past several years in restaurants and is now being used in more recipes. I've seen it go from being exclusively sold in Asian food markets to now being readily available in local grocery stores.
In college, I cooked a lot of Asian cuisine and fell in love with belly. I couldn't get enough of it. It seemed like weekly I was making Chinese crispy pork belly and braised belly. A huge plus was that it was super cheap and fit right in with my student budget.
Sadly, the price of pork belly has pretty much tripled in price per pound due to demand. The increase in price sucks big time for people like me, because pork belly addiction does not come cheap.
Regardless of price, I continue to buy (and eat) a lot of it and refuse to ration my pork belly consumption. Not gonna do it.
How to make the best braised pork belly
- Look for a meaty belly with the skin-on for this dish (To cut the richness of the belly, I serve it with white jasmine rice and stir-fried crisp veggies).
- Use a quality fish sauce. The only fish sauce I ever use is Red Boat Premium Fish Sauce because it's all-natural, Paleo, and totally awesome. I love it and use it on everything.
- Go low and slow. Pork belly should not be rushed, so don't try to rush it the process.
- TIP!! Make extra of the belly, rice, and veggies to make an easy fried rice for the next night's dinner. (OMG! I cannot stress enough how freaking awesome leftover Thai style braised pork belly is in fried rice. Not. Kidding. At. All.)
Although this has nothing to do with pork belly, BUT we finished the camper renovation last weekend. YAY!! You have no idea how happy I am to finally be D-O-N-E with that darn camper. I going to try to take some pictures today of it to write a post for next week because can't wait to show you all the result!
Hope you try this recipe for Thai Braised Pork Belly and don't forget to make a fried rice lunch or dinner with the leftovers the next day!
Thai Braised Pork Belly
- 2 pounds meaty pork belly , skin-on and cut into 1" cubes
- ½ cup cilantro , chopped
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce (I use Red Boat brand)
- 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar (plain vinegar only; no salt or sugar in ingredients on bottle's label)
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry
- 2 whole cloves of fresh garlic , minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger , grated
- 1 teaspoon granulated sucanat , can substitute brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 whole fresh lime
- Heat a heavy bottomed pot and over medium-high heat. Add the pork belly and fry until all cubes are thoroughly browned. Remove the excess oil from the pan.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients (except the lime) to the browned pork belly in the pot and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce heat to low, stir well, and cover the pot with a lid. Simmer until the liquid has reduced and the pork belly is tender, about 1 ½ hours. Can skim off excess oil on top, if necessary.
- Cut the fresh lime in half and squeeze the juice over the cooked pork belly. Serve with plain jasmine rice and stir-fried vegetables.
Recipe Notes & Tips:
- To cut the richness of the belly, serve it with white jasmine rice and stir-fried crisp veggies.
- Use the above leftovers (of pork belly, rice, and veggies) to make fried rice the next day!