Inspired by my recent experience making (well, she did most of the work, really) and eating Momofuko's pork belly steamed buns with Kelly, I bought a small slab of pork belly to cook myself. I was anxious though, and all the recipes I came across required marinating. Then I flipped through a Food & Wine Best of the Best book (Vol. 6) I had gotten from a garage sale. In the section featuring David Thompson's cookbook Thai Food, there just so happens to be a pork belly recipe that didn't require me to wait overnight! And it involved stir-frying cucumbers... intriquing. It's a simple recipe, getting most of it's flavor from pork fat and fish sauce. Oh, fish sauce. Truly one of the most off-putting yet magificent ingredients out there. Such a pungent smell! But when used right, a flavor that can't really be described.
Pork Belly Cucumber Stir-Fry
(adapted from Thai Food by David Thompson)
-4 oz. pork belly
-2 Tablespoons oil
-3 cloves garlic, minced and crushed with a pinch of salt
-1 medium cucumber cut into fat bite-sized sticks
-2 eggs, beaten
-1 Tablespoon fish sauce (really, measure this and don't use too much... so strong!)
-1 teaspoon sugar
-salt and pepper
Steam the pork belly for about 10-15 minutes. Let cool. Slice fairly thickly then cut into bite size rectangles, roughly the same size and shape as the cucumber. Cook garlic in oil until it starts to brown. Add the pork belly and fry over a high heat for about 5 minutes, until it has some good browning. Add cucumber and stir-fty until it begins to become transluscent. Add eggs and stir-fry for another couple of minutes. Add fish saice and sugar, season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over jasmine rice (I used brown jasmine rice) with a generous sprinkling of cilantro.
I still have a nice portion of pork belly left... think it's time to make more bacon?