Barbecued Pork Belly with Berbère Spice and Potato Salad

This comes from Cath Clarinbold in "The Age" Good Weekend 15 October 2005. I first made this way back then (I am writing this on 9 October 2008 or nearly three years later) and it was really good. It appears complicated but isn't really, you just have to plan ahead.

She recommends Black Berkshire pork if you can track it down, but adds that more conventional pork works well too.

(Serves 4-6)

  • 2kg piece of pork belly, skin on
  • Berbère Spice (see below)
  • 2 brown onions
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 2½ litres chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds

Remove the pork skin (I actually asked the butcher to do this for me) and leave overnight in the fridge, uncovered, to dry, as this will make better crackling. Rub the pork belly generously with the berbère spice (don't use it all as you will need some at the barbecue stage) and also leave overnight.

Roughly chop the onions, carrot and celery and place in a bot, add the belly and cover with chicken stock. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook until completely tender — about 1 to 1½ hours. Remove the belly and allow to cool completely (preferably refrigerated for a couple of hours). I put it away again overnight. Discard the liquid.

Score the skin, then rub in the salt and ground fennel seeds. Place on a baking tray with a wire rack on top to prevent the skin from curling and cokk at 220°C for about 40 to 60 minutes, or until crisp. Set aside for use in the potato salad.

Slice the cold pork meat into 3cm slices and rub with more berbère spice mix, and barbecue until nicely coloured and heated right through. Serve with the potato salad. I also serve it with red cabbage.

Berbère Spice Mix

  • 8 white cardomon pods
  • 5 whole dried chillies
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 8 cloves
  • 1 tsp allspice berries (pimento)
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp salt

Heat a heavy-based frying pan. Bruise the cardomon pods and add them to the pan with all the other whole spices. Toast lightly until the pods release their aroma.

Remove the seeds from the cardomon pods, discard the pods, and then grind all the roasted spices to a fine powder. Mix together with the ginger, nutmeg and salt. Store in an airtight container away from strong light, or in the freezer.

Potato Salad

  • 1kg washed Nicola potatoes
  • 200ml lemon juice
  • 250ml mild olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch coriander, leaves only
  • 1 large mild red chilli, de-seeded and finely sliced
  • 6 spring onions, finely sliced on an angle
  • pork crackling (see above)

Steam the potatoes with skins on for about 20 minutes, until tender, then peel while still warm and cut into 1cm dice. Mix together the lemon juice and olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Add the coriander, chilli and spring onions, mixing well, then break up the pork crackling and gently mix it through.


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