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.
- 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
- 1 teaspoon tamarind paste, dissolved in 1 cup of water
- 1 cup nuoc cham
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- 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.
- Remove the pork belly to a sheet tray with a wire rack, and cool uncovered in the fridge.
- Cut the belly into 4 equal portions.
- Mix tamarind water and nuoc cham together and set aside.
- Score each piece of pork belly into 6 pieces without cutting all the way through.
- Deep-fry each piece submerged in oil until crispy, about 4 minutes.
- Season with salt, top with the chilis and serve with lime wedges and tamarind nuoc cham sauce.