Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sticky Asian Glazed Pork Belly Kale and Peanut Salad

I love bacon so it's no surprise that I might be interested in Pork Belly. It's basically bacon in it's pure form.

Now pork belly is a fatty meat but if cooked down to it's pure form it's really just delicious and not that bad. I love the juicy meaty goodness that is a joy to eat. And this recipe draws out the purest form of the  meat from the pork belly. It's got far east flavors and some delicious greens which makes it easy to enjoy as a meal in itself.

I love the salad as a meal concept. I grew up with this from childhood. My parents had encountered this idea when they were stationed in California in the 1960's. It was a new thing back then. At that time it was mostly in the west that were people eating that way. But as this concept continued to expand it became very popular. Wolfgang Puck started a national craze in the 1970's when he created what would be commonly known everywhere as the "Chinese Chicken Salad". It was a green salad with chopped veggies, chicken, almonds, crispy noodles, mandarine orange slices and a delicious dressing with asian flavors. It became the basis for all the main course salads we enjoy today at every restaurant you go to these days.

My salad is a riff on this concept. But to update it I used kale and cabbage and changed up the meat to a stir fried asian pork belly that uses Korean chili paste gochujang to provide a little bit of heat and flavor. I love peanuts and roasted peanut oil and use them as crunch, texture and to flavor the dressing. But I kept the mandarine orange slices for the fun and color and added radishes for color and crunch.

Now pork belly is a labor of love if you make it at home. Basically you roast it in the oven low and slow braising it till you have a delicious piece of meat. Then you cool it down and slice it up and stir fry it in a wok or pan on high heat caramelizing the chili paste and other ingredients into slices of deliciousness.  And nowadays you don't have to roast it if you don't want to because you can find it cooked at many grocery stores. Which makes making this recipe pretty easy.

Give this salad a try and become a summer salad superstar! Enjoy

Sticky Asian Glazed Pork Belly Kale and Peanut Salad

Pork Belly ingredients:

1 pound of cooked pork belly
3 heaping tablespoons of Korean Chili paste
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons prepared BBQ sauce or catsup
2 teaspoons of sesame oil


Take the pork belly and slice it about 1/4 inch thin
Heat a small amount of vegetable oil in a wok or skillet
Add the chili paste, soy sauce, and catsup or BBQ sauce
Stir to combine then add the pork belly slices
Stir fry till the pork is coated in the sauce and continue to cook till the pork becomes crispy and dark in spots. Glazed with the sauce and cooked red and colorful. At the very end add the sesame oil and sesame seeds. Turn heat off and hold till salad is tossed.

For the salad

3 cups curly kale chopped into fine shreds.
3 cups Green cabbage also chopped into fine shreds.
1 carrot shredded
5 radishes finely sliced some reserved for garnish
1 cup of crushed peanuts, 3 tablespoons reserved for garnish
4 or 5 scallions cut on the bias 2 tablespoons reserved for garnish
1 6oz can of mandarin orange segments drained ( handful reserved for garnishing top)

For the dressing

3/4 cup Roasted Peanut oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 heaping tablespoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 anchovies filets (optional)

Place in a food processor and mix well till combined.

To prepare the salad place all ingredients in a bowl and toss with the dressing
Place in a serving bowl and top with the pork
Garnish with the remaining scallions, peanuts, oranges segments and radishes. 

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