Chinese Crispy Roast Pork (Siew Yoke) in the Slow Cooker
Do you ever stop and stare at the curious delights displayed in the Chinese barbecue shop window? Drool over the lacquered red Peking ducks, the dripping honeyed char siew pork neck and the trays of braised duck tongues?
I’m always in awe of the crispy skinned pork belly, with a rind so brittle and crunchy – how do they get it like that? Well, I’m about to tell you how, in a very non-traditional way, which is easy peasy and guaranteed!
Cantonese crispy roast pork, AKA siew yoke, is traditionally flavoured with Chinese 5 spice and fermented bean curd. I have skipped the bean curd part in this recipe as it is not something commonly found in kitchens although it does impart a musky salty flavour of the restaurant dish. I make my own 5 spice blend but you can use a good bought one kind but freshly ground spices add so much more flavour compared to bottled ones which may be months or years old. My recipe is here.
My kids devour siew yoke, typically served on plain rice with some steamed green vegetables and the juices from the pork. Nom nom nom!
I have previously posted about pork here and the process for crackling is just about the same but this time I made my siew yoke in my slow cooker as an experiment and it worked better than I imagined. The meat was moist and succulent as expected, and you could do this step a few days before you needed to serve it as it keeps really well in the fridge. Be aware that you will need to dry out the meat for a few days, uncovered in the fridge.
Start with a 1 – 1.5kg of pork belly that will sit flat in the bottom of your slow cooker. If you are located in Melbourne, I recommend you get your happy free range pork from my old school buddy, Liz here. She raises seriously good pork!1 tab salt 2 tabs Chinese 5 spice powder 1 teas dried ginger powder 1/2 teas white pepper 1 cup (approx) of bone broth or water 2 tabs apple cider vinegar 1 tab honey
Mix the 5 spice, ginger & pepper in a bowl and rub into the meat side of the belly well. Give it a thick coating of dry spice. Flip the meat over and using a skewer, stab the skin all over (many many times) to perforate it. There is a scary specific tool for doing this in Asian grocers, but I don’t bother, a strong skewer does the trick.
Rub the pricked skin with salt and place in the fridge, uncovered for at least 2 days to dry.
When ready to cook, place skin side up into the slow cooker and carefully pour the stock (or water) around the meat, until it comes up to the level of the skin, without wetting the skin. Cook for about 2 – 3 hours, ensuring that the base doesn’t dry out.
Remove the meat and place on a lined oven tray and brush the skin with vinegar. In the slow cooker, mix in the honey well with the meat juices, adding a little water if the sauce is too strong. Set the juices aside.
Place the meat on the middle shelf of your oven and turn the grill element on high. The skin will puff and bubble in about 20 minutes. Watch carefully as it can catch quite quickly.
Serve with salad or rice and the meat juices for dunking. My kids love it with homemade hoisin sauce too.