Among all the braised pork belly recipes you can make let’s talk a little bit about why this braised pork belly on the stove is unconventional. Apart from the rich deep red-brown color and spicy fruity aroma, how this curry is cooked has everything to do with it.
how to cook pork belly slices
I love pairing sweet aromatic spices with good dose of chili powder to get the velvety shiny sauce that has many layers of flavors. This pairing discovery is not really my own but have influenced by my favorite Asian and Sri Lankan recipes. With ingredients giving, sweet, sour, and spicy flavors and lots of rendered fat from pork belly in the sauce it really helps develop overall flavors that cut through fatty texture. My most recently discovered favorite addition to achieve sweet fruity notes and color is date molasses.
Date molasses gives the curry sauce the shine, fruity sweetness, in perfect complement with star anise. My inspiration to use caramelize onions with date molasses and tamarind is mostly from another favorite Sri Lankan festive curry called Sri Lankan onion relish or “Seeni Sambol “.
Sri Lankan Seeni Sambol is culinary sweetheart of the traditional new year festival table. The biggest cultural festival runs throughout the month of April. It is made by slow cooking onions in chili tamarind broth until everything becomes thick shiny caramelized sauce. This curry uses Maldives fish (dried tuna flakes). If you were to cook some braised pork belly in a crock pot, oven, or pressure cooker this onion relish recipe flavor really gives a delicious sauce to it. Trust me, I have tried this many times now, it works like a charm.
How do these recipe inspirations fit in to the equation? If you ask me, they do quite well to give a completely new recipe with its own flavor notes. A slow cooking process caramelizes onions and enhances sweetness with molasses and tamarind. Sweet spices like fennel, cinnamon, and star anise complement that flavor.
Over the sweetness floats the gentle heat from the red Spanish paprika and fresh chili peppers. Although I am adding quite a bit of red chili this dish doesn’t get overly spicy. emulsifying fat and heat and slow long cooking remove most of the heat leaving just the flavor.
Post recipe notes and serving suggestions
Despite the lengthy list of ingredients going in to this this is an easy braised pork belly recipe to cook on stove top. Once all the spices get together to make the spice blend everything just gets dumped into the pressure cooker or cookpot in one go. Set the timer to cook.
Cooking braised pork belly in a pressure cooker is the fastest cooking method. Once the pressure cooker comes to temperature and pressure cooking this recipe takes under one hour. However slow braised recipe is not a fast dinner, it takes over three hours to fully incorporate and develop those layers of flavors and get all the fat layers in pork belly well cooked and tender.
There isn’t any danger of overcooking pork belly here; longer, and slower it cooks, softer the pork belly becomes, and sauce becomes even more delicious. You can make the curry sauce as thick or thin as you like by simmering it down. It will further thicken up when cooling down. Make sure to keep the heat low and scrape the bottom of the pot occasionally because you don’t want spices and onions burning at the bottom of the pot and turning bitter.
Serving Braised pork belly curry
Braised Pork Belly
- 1 lb. pork belly strips Cut in to 1-inch-thick cubes
- 2 red onions sliced
- 4 whole green chilies
- 5 curry leaves
- 1 tbsp roasted red paprika
- 1 tbsp unroasted red paprika
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 2 tsp black curry powder
- 1 star anise
- 2- inch cinnamon bark
- 2 cloves
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1 tbsp date molasses
- 2 tsp tamarind paste
- 1 inch ginger sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 inch piece of lemongrass
- 2 tbsp of ghee
- 2 cups of water
- Caramelize onions in ghee along with cinnamon and cardamom.
- Turn the heat low and add sliced ginger garlic, whole green chili, and curry leaves. Cook for a few seconds.
- Add all remaining seasonings and curry powders, along with cup of the water. Mix caramelized onions with curry powder and cook for couple of minutes.
- Add sliced pork belly and remaining water. Turn the heat down, cover and cook until pork belly becomes fall apart tender.