Crisp Pork Belly with Apple and Fennel Coleslaw

This is a recipe from Caroline Velik which was in "The Age Epicure" on 6 July 2010.

The pork was just great. I left the bones in, which makes it a little more difficult to serve, but you get some bones to gnaw on.

Also I found the crackling to be too salty. I think that wiping the salt of with kitchen paper should be done with wet paper towels to get rid of the salt in the cracks. Then dry thoroughly. Will comment more when I do it again.


  • 1½kg pork belly, thick end, bones removed
  • 2 tbsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Black pepper to season


  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed
  • 2 bay leaves


  • ½ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp Sichuan pepper
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 baby fennel
  • 1¼ savoy cabbage
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber
  • 2 radish
  • 2 red apples
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 cup picked fresh coriander sprigs

Ask your butcher to score the skin of the pork belly (if you do it yourself, use a very sharp Stanley knife). Rub sea salt into pork skin and refrigerate, uncovered, for 30 minutes to dry out the skin.

Preheat oven to 220C.

Wipe sea salt off pork skin with kitchen paper and dry thoroughly. Drizzle a large roasting dish with olive oil. Put pork belly in, skin-side down, drizzle with a little more olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes.

Reduce oven to 190Cand roast for another 1½ hours.

Carefully turn pork belly over and roast for another 30 minutes, or until skin is crisp and crunchy.

Remove from oven. Do not cover. Rest for 15 minutes. As pork is cooking, make the sauce and salad.

Place all sauce ingredients in a small pot and cook over medium heat for five to 10 minutes, until thickened.

For the salad, place vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar in a large bowl. Finely slice red onion and fennel with a mandolin or V-slicer and add to vinegar to soften. Use a mandolin to finely slice cabbage, cucumber, radish, apples and green chilli. Place in serving bowl and toss with the coriander.

Just before serving, add onion and fennel to the vinegar and toss to combine.

Carve pork into thick slices, drizzle with sauce and serve with salad.

Time line

  • t - 3½ hours: Crank up oven to 220°C. Get the pork out of the fridge and salt it. Then back into the fridge to dry out the skin.
  • t - 2¾ hours: Removed salt, dried skin, and into hot oven. I've allowed ¼ work time.
  • t - 2¼ hours: Turn down oven to 190°C.
  • t - ¾ hour: Turn over the pork.
  • t - ¼ hour: Rest uncovered.
  • t: Chop it up.


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