Roast pork belly is perfect when newly cooked and the skin is puffed and crisp. A few hours later and the lovely rind becomes chewy. What do you do with leftovers? You make a sauce and cook it as sweet sour leftover roast pork belly. Cook extra rice. You’ll want a second helping. Maybe even a third.
It might sound crazy that I’m talking about leftover roast pork belly. Does that ever happen? Don’t the succulent cubes of pork with browned crispy skin get devoured in a flash? Often, yes, but not all the time. When we serve roast pork belly at home paired with a second (and a third) dish on the side, we sometimes have leftovers. This is my go-to way to recycle the pork so that the recycled dish is just as deliciously devour-worthy as the roast pork belly when the rind was crisp.
Is this a Chinese dish or a Filipino dish? A little of both, I suppose. Someone told me once that the dish is called lechon Macau.Whether the name connotes the geographic origin of a similar dish, I really do not know. At Boy Ching Woo’s Chinese Restaurant in Caloocan City (the fifth oldest Chinese restaurant in the Philippines), there is a similar dish called lechon con tokwa that combines cubed roast pork belly with fried cubes of tofu in a sauce made with fermented black beans.
My sweet sour leftover pork belly does not include fermented black beans among the ingredients. The sauce is similar to that of the Filipino paksiw na lechon minus the lechon sauce. Traditional lechon sauce is made with pureed pork liver and, added to the paksiw, thickens the sauce considerably. To thicken the sauce of my sweet sour leftover pork belly, I simply used starch.
This is a very simple recipe but it is so good that, between spoonfuls, Alex muttered that she wished we could have it everyday.
- 2 shallots
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 one-inch knob ginger
- 2 bird's eye chilies
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 4 to 6 cups cubed roast pork belly
- 2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice wine
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 cups bone broth divided
- 1 to 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- salt if the broth is unseasoned or under-seasoned
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 2 teaspoons tapioca starch or corn starch
- 1 small drizzle sesame seed oil
- sliced scallions to garnish
- torn cilantro to garnish
Peel and thinly slice the shallots.
Peel and mince the garlic.
Peel and thinly slice the ginger.
Chop the chilies.
Heat the cooking oil in a pan.
Saute the shallots, garlic, ginger and chilies.
Add the pork to the pan. Stir to coat with oil.
Pour in the soy sauce, rice wine, rice vinegar and half of the broth. Stir in the sugar and pepper. Bring to the boil. Cook, uncovered, for one to two minutes. Taste the sauce. Add salt if too bland (adding more soy sauce will make the sauce too dark).
In the remaining broth, stir in the oyster sauce, starch and sesame seed oil. Pour into the pan. Cook, stirring, until the sauce is thick and clear. Cook for another two to three minutes to make sure that the starch leaves no powdery feel in the mouth.
Transfer the sweet sour leftover roast pork belly to a serving bowl. Garnish with scallions and cilantro. Best served with rice.