Recipe: Vietnamese Caramel Pork Belly in Pineapple Halves
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1hr 45 minutes
100g (1/2 cup) palm sugar, coarsely grated
1kg boneless pork belly, cut into 3cm pieces
250ml (1 cup) coconut water
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 star anise
2 red birds eye chillies, deseeded, finely chopped
2 medium pineapples
Steamed brown rice
Fresh coriander leaves
Thinly sliced shallots
1 long fresh red chili, thinly sliced
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Place the palm sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a large saucepan over high heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until sugar dissolves and a dark caramel forms.
Meanwhile place a separate large non stick frying pan over medium to high heat. Add pork in small separate batches and brown on all sides for 2-3 minutes. Set aside in a separate bowl. Continue until all the pork has been browned. Set frying pan aside for later use.
Add the browned pork and any pork juices to the palm sugar. Add coconut water and stir well to coat. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low. Stir in the garlic, fish sauce, star anise and chili. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours or until the pork is tender and the sauce is thick and glossy.
To prepare the pineapples, using a sharp knife, carefully cut the pineapple in half lengthwise. Using the knife tip, cut around the inside edge of the pineapple, being careful not to cut through the skin. Slice down and across the pineapple flesh, then scoop out the pineapple cubes with a spoon. Discard the core and set the flesh aside.
Place the reserved frying pan back over a medium to high heat. Add pineapple
flesh. Brown on all sides for 2-3 minutes, then add to the caramelized pork. Heat gently for a further 5 minutes. Carefully spoon pork into pineapple halves, leaving some room for steamed rice.
Garnish with fresh herbs and chillies and serve.