There are tons of sio bak recipes around and why do I want to come up with another one? This recipe promises a Super Yummy Sio Bak with Exploding Crunch & Bursting Juiciness. Moreover, no tedious poking required. #notexaggerating
Actually I’m not a fan of sio bak. I mean last time. That’s because I have not eaten one that has a wow factor until last year in penang. Even the so call famous sio bak was like a piece of salty meat with Crunchy skin. Nothing too fanciful. However, the one I had in Penang converted me. It was very well flavored yet not overly salty. I cannot believe sio bak can taste like this.. tender with juiciness. That’s what I want to achieve – my kind of perfect sio bak.
How to achieve the Juiciest Sio Bak?
BRINING is the answer!
What is Brining?
Brining is the process of marinating the meat in a salt infused water. This process bring maximum juiciness to the piece of meat by hydrating the muscle cells of the meat. The duration of brining ranges from hours to day depending on the size of the piece of meat. For more info, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brining
Here’s a Step-by-Step Video on how to make it
THIS RECIPE BRINE A 800G TO 1 KG PORK BELLY FOR 10 HOURS.
Any piece bigger or smaller has to increase or decrease accordingly.
You will need to make the brine in advance and allow it to cool before adding to the scored pork belly. *Be very careful when adding the brine to the belly. Avoid contacting the skin with any liquid. You will be brining and air drying the skin at the same time to ensure a very well-flavoured and juicy Sio Bak with perfect crackling
This recipe also do not require the tedious poking that traditional recipe called for. All you need is to score the skin of the belly as shown below:
Scoring the skin also ensure easier cutting of the sio bak. No more messy cutting and crispy skin breaking away from the sio bak. *when scoring, avoid cutting into the meat. Just score into the skin and slightly into the fats.
When cooked, let it rest for 5 to 10 mins and then cut along the lines. This method ensures perfect crackling without poking and allows you to cut without breaking the crispy skin from the meat.
This recipe provides both Air Fryer & Oven Roasting Methods.
For Nam Yu (Fermented Beancurd) flavored Sio Bak, you will need an additional step. Remove the pork belly from the brine (be very careful and not allow any liquid get in contact with the skin). Rub the pork belly with Nam Yu mixture (except the skin)
and cover it with aluminium foil (with skin expose).
Continue the marination for another 3 to 4 hours. *skip this step if you do not want the Nam Yu taste. It will be as tasty.
Preheat the Air fryer for about 5 mins @ 180 degree Celsius and air fry for 40 mins
Preheat the Oven to 220 degree celsius for 30 mins (For non-fan assisted oven, increase the temperature to 250 degree celsius). Roast the Pork Belly for an hour
*the timing is based on a 800g Pork Belly. Increase or decrease the timing accordingly for bigger or smaller piece of pork belly used.
- 1 litre water
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 50g Salt
- ½ tablespoon five spices powder
- 1 tablespoon coarsely grounded black pepper
- 800g to 1 kg Pork Belly
- ½ tablespoon salt
- 1 cube Nam Yu (Fermented Beancurd)
- 1 tablespoon Hua Tiao Wine (Shao Xing Wine)
- Prepare this solution in advance and allow it to cool before using
- In a saucepan, add in all the ingredients required for the brine and bring it to boil
- Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool completely before use.
- Wash and pat dry the pork belly
- Score the skin of the pork belly with a sharp knife horizontally and vertically. (spaces between each line to be about 1.5 cm to 2 cm apart). *When scoring, avoid cutting into the meat. Just cut into the skin and slightly into the fats. Closely spaced cut is critical for perfect crackling of the skin
- Sprinkle the skin with salt and rub onto the skin. Remove any excess.
- Put the scored pork belly into a casserole. Deep enough to allow the brine to cover the meat and fats portion of the belly
- Slowly scoop the cool brine into the casserole and continue until almost the whole pork belly is submerge in the brine except for the skin and 0.5 cm of the fats under the skin. *Do not allow any liquid to get in contact with the skin of the pork belly
- Brine for at least 8 hours and maximum 10 hours in the chiller. Do not cover and allow the skin of the pork belly to be exposed and dry in the fridge
- Mashed the nam yu and mix with the wine until combine
- Spread the nam yu mixture onto the pork belly except for the skin *It is very critical to leave the skin very very dry
- Cover the sides and bottom of the pork belly with aluminium foil to prevent moisture lost and leave it in the chiller for another 3 to 4 hours (Skin not cover)
- Preheat the air fryer @ 180 degree celsius for 5 mins
- Remove the Pork Belly from the chiller and air fry for 40 mins @ 180 degree celsius
- Remove from the air fryer when done and allow it stand and cool for about 5 to 10 mins
- Preheat the oven to 220 degree celsius for 30 mins (For non-fan assisted oven, increase the temperature to 250 degree celsius)
- Remove the Pork Belly from the chiller and allow it to roast for 1 hr
- Cut along the scoring line and serve with mustard and sambal chili