Crispy Tamarind Pork Belly Recipe

Oct 20, 2011 5:01 pm

Spice Market's Asian pork belly, right at home

Jean-Georges Vongerichten's NYC celeb-sighting spot Spice Market is known for its bold fusion cuisine. Tangy tamarind and hot red finger chilies elevate this long-overlooked cut of pork to fine dining status. When a recipe calls for both a braise AND a stint in the deep-fryer, you're in for a pork experience that's as tender, crispy and flavorful as you could ever hope for. 

Photo: Spice Market NY
Photo: Spice Market NY
You start with a 2-lb. slab of pork belly. Then you braise and deep fry it. Need we say more?
Servings: 4


1 2-pound slab pork belly
1 tablespoon lemongrass, smashed
1/2 red finger chili split in half
2 1/4-inch slices galangal or ginger root
1/2 piece star anise
2 sticks cinnamon
3 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
Grapeseed oil, for frying
red finger chili peppers, sliced thinly on the bias, for garnish
lime wedges, for garnish
Tamarind sauce
1 teaspoon tamarind paste, dissolved in 1 cup of water
1 cup nuoc cham
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Combine pork belly, lemongrass, chili, galangal, star anise, cinnamon, salt and sugar together in a skillet and braise in the oven until tender, about 5 hours. 
  3. Remove the pork belly to a sheet tray with a wire rack, and cool uncovered in the fridge.
  4. Cut the belly into 4 equal portions.             
  5. Mix tamarind water and nuoc cham together and set aside. 
  6. Score each piece of pork belly into 6 pieces without cutting all the way through.
  7. Deep-fry each piece submerged in oil until crispy, about 4 minutes.
  8. Season with salt, top with the chilis and serve with lime wedges and tamarind nuoc cham sauce.
Level of Difficulty: 
Prep Time: 
20 minutes
Cooking Time: 
5 hours, plus frying
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