The first time I tried pork belly with chili garlic sauce (蒜泥白肉) I was surprised to find that it was not fatty. When I think of pork belly, I usually think it’s greasy and coats your mouth with oil. However, this cold appetizer features moist and tender pork belly slices with a spicy and garlic-y sauce. After trying this dish at the restaurant a few times, I am recreating pork belly with chili garlic sauce at home.
Tips on Making Pork Belly with Chili Garlic Sauce
- Since the star of the dish is pork belly, a leaner piece will taste much better than a fattier one. You’d want the pork belly to have more meat to fat ratio. The best place to find this is likely at your butcher shop where you have more selection.
- For serving, try to cut the pork belly into thin slices. The pork skin is a bit tough so a thick slice will give you a chewier mouthfeel. To make it easier to slice, you can try placing the pork belly in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour. This should help firm up the meat and make it easier to get thin uniform slices.
- Personally, I like to eat pork belling with chili garlic sauce with cucumbers. I find the cool crunchy cucumbers help cut some of the heat and add a fresh element. You can omit this if you don’t like cucumbers.
Pork belly with chili garlic sauce is a great make-ahead appetizer. It's especially good for summertime because it's served cold and the chili help gets the appetite going.
- 1 lb pork belly
- 2 piece of ginger (about 2 thumb size), sliced 1/4" thick lengthwise
- 3 green onion, cut in to 2 inch pieces
- 2 dried chili pepper
- Water as needed
- 1 English cucumber, sliced thinly (for serving)
- 4-6 large cloves of garlic, mashed
- 1 tbsp chili oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1/2 cup stock or water (you can use the water for boiling the pork belly)
Rinse the pork belly and pat dry.
Add pork belly, ginger slices, green onion pieces, and dried chili pepper in a pot. Fill the pot with water until pork belly is fully submerged. Place the pot over high heat and bring water to a boil.
Once the water is boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook the pork belly for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and leave the pot on the burner for another 10 minutes before removing the pork belly. Let pork belly cool completely (reaches room temperature), then slice the pork belly as thinly as possible width-wise. I find the pork belly easier to slice when you place it on the side, so the skin is either facing towards you or away from you.
To serve, you can use the chili garlic sauce as a dipping sauce or drizzle the sauce over the pork belly slices. Garnish the plate with cucumbers to help cleanse the palate and balance the spiciness.
To make the chili garlic sauce, combine all ingredients together and mix well.