1.25 kg pork belly, trimmed of excess fat
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 bunch spring onion, green and white separated
50 g ginger, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 small bunch coriander, leaves and stalks separated
1 tbsp Chinese five-spice powder
5 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
85 g dark brown muscovado sugar
4 tbsp soy sauce (or gluten-free alternative)
4 tbsp dark soy sauce (or gluten-free alternative)
4 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 stem ginger balls from a jar, diced, plus 2 tbsp syrup
1 chicken stock cube
450 g plums, quartered and stoned
jasmine rice and Asian greens, to serve
- Bring a very large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the pork belly and boil for 15 mins until cooked. Cool to room temperature, then cut into 4cm chunks and make sure they’re dry.
- Heat some of the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish and brown the pork in batches. Once browned, set aside. Put the onion, spring onion whites, ginger, garlic and coriander stalks in a blender and whizz to a paste.
- After browning the pork, wipe out the dish, add the paste with a splash of water and gently heat until softened. Stir in the five-spice powder, star anise, cinnamon and 1 tsp ground pepper. Fry for 1 min, then add the sugar, soy sauces, hoisin sauce, vinegar and ginger syrup. Return the pork, plus any juices, then crumble in the stock cube and add enough water to just cover. Stir in a third of the plums and bring to a gentle simmer while you heat oven to 160C/140C fan. Cover the dish and bake for 2½ hrs.
- Lift the pork into an ovenproof dish, cover with foil and keep warm in a low oven. Put the sauce back on the hob and boil until reduced by about half. Add the remaining plums and cook for a few mins more, then return the pork. Finely slice the spring onion greens and scatter over with the coriander leaves. Serve with jasmine rice and stir-fried greens.