Aug 1, 2019

Crispy Pork Belly in Cashew Gochujang Sauce over Crispy Rice

Prep Time: 1 d 2 hrs
Cook Time: 2 hrs
Pieces of slowly roasted pork belly are tossed in a sauce made from gochujang, a Korean fermented red pepper paste, cashew butter and melted butter.

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Pieces of slowly roasted pork belly are tossed in a sauce made from gochujang, a Korean fermented red pepper paste mixed with cashew butter and melted unsalted butter. The result is a tangy yet creamy and nutty sauce that complements the fatty pork belly. The meat is served on top of crispy rice with radish, cilantro, cashews and sesame seeds for an umami-filled twist on Korean bibimbap.

This recipe is based on a dish I had at the now closed Church Key in West Hollywood. It was a unique restaurant with a concept based around serving all sorts of foods on dim sum carts. I loved the flavorful combination of tender pork, spice, slather of creamy cashew butter and fresh, crisp greens. After the restaurant closed I decided to make my own version with the flavor profile at home.

Crispy Pork Belly in Cashew Gochujang Sauce over Crispy Rice

 

Key Ingredients in this Recipe

  • Pork belly – Pork belly is the fatty cut of pork from the pig’s belly after the loin and spareribs are removed. Cooking pork belly is definitely more labor intensive than other cuts of meat though the process is worth the extra effort. The pork belly sits in a brining mixture of sake and rice wine to season it along with salt, sugar and pepper. After it’s roasted the pork is refrigerated so the fat coagulates and firms up again before it’s pan-fried and served.
  • Gochujang – Gochujang is a Korean fermented chili paste that adds some sweet and savory heat to any dish. It can be found in the Asian section of most grocery stores these days. I like to keep my fridge stocked with gochujang. Since it is fermented it lasts a long time.
  • Cashews – This recipe uses cashew butter in the sauce to add smooth, nutty flavor as well as halved cashews on top as a crunchy garnish. It’s not the most common nut butter and can be difficult to find. I recommend making your own! Simply blend 2 cups of roasted, unsalted cashews in a food processor until smooth.

 

How to Make Crispy Pork Belly in Cashew Gochujang Sauce

For the Pork Belly

  1. Brine the pork belly. Pat the pork belly dry. Rub the sake and rice wine vinegar into the meat. In a small bowl mix together salt, the sugar and pepper. Evenly rub the spice mixture into the meat. Lay the pork belly fat-side up, cover it with aluminum foil then refrigerate it for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours.
  2. Prep the pork belly. Let the pork belly sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Use a sharp knife to cut a cross-hatch pattern about 1/4″ deep into the fatty side of the pork belly. As a result, the fat will render and will be extra crispy.
  3. Roast the pork belly. Place the pork belly on a roasting pan and cook until tender. Increase the oven temperature and continue to cook the pork belly until crispy.
  4. Refrigerate the pork belly. Let the pork belly cool to room temperature. After that, wrap the pork tightly in plastic and refrigerate until throughly chilled.
  5. Slice the pork belly. When ready to serve, slice the pork into ½” pieces. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat and add oil. Brown the pork belly on all sides and remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

For the Sauce and Assembly

  1. Make the cashew gochujang sauce. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and allow to melt. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant. Next, whisk in the gochujang, sugar and cashew butter until completely combined. Keep warm until ready to use, whisking to emulsify the sauce before serving.
  2. Crisp up the pork belly. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, add the pork belly and sauté until crispy on all sides, about 6 minutes. Then remove to a large bowl, leaving as much oil in the pan as you can and return the pan to heat.
  3. Make the crispy rice. Add the rice into the pan in an even layer and cook, untouched, until the bottom is crispy and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Stir and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Divide the crispy rice among serving bowls and return the pan to heat.
  4. Toss the pork belly in the sauce. Add the pork back to the pan and heat for an additional minute then add the gochujang sauce and toss to combine.
  5. Serve. Divide among the serving bowls. Top each with the cashews, cilantro, green onions, radish and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

 

Crispy Pork Belly in Cashew Gochujang Sauce over Crispy Rice

Day old rice is optimal for cooking fried rice since it has dried out a bit. When making fried rice the goal is to fry it so it’s a bit crispy and absorbs the rice rather than steaming it to the point that it is mushy. While day-old rice isn’t required it definitely makes for the best texture. In this recipe the rice is crisped in the remaining pork fat.

If you don’t have leftover rice you can mimic the dried rice by spreading the cooked rice in an even layer on a baking sheet and refrigerating it for an hour or freezing it for about 15 minutes to 30 minutes. This shortcut will draw the moisture out while saving time.

Roasted pork belly tossed in a sauce made from gochujang, a Korean fermented red pepper paste and cashew butter a over crispy rice

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

 

Crispy Pork Belly in Cashew Gochujang Sauce Over Crispy Rice

crispy cubes of pork belly in a red cashew gochujang sauce over crispy rice
Print Pin
Prep Time 1 d 2 hrs
Cook Time 2 hrs
Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the pork belly:

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless pork belly
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper

For assembly:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup gochujang
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted cashew butter
  • 2 cups cooked white rice, (day old is best)
  • ½ cup halved cashew pieces
  • Handful cilantro leaves (or micro-cilantro)
  • ¼ cup julienned green onions
  • 2 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Instructions:

For the pork belly:

  • Pat the pork belly dry and place skin side down on a tray. Rub the sake and rice wine vinegar into the meat. In a small bowl mix together 2 teaspoons of the salt, the sugar and pepper. Evenly rub the spice mixture into the meat.
  • Flip the pork belly so it is fat-side up, cover it with aluminum foil then refrigerate it for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours.
  • Let the pork belly sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before it goes into the oven. Preheat oven to 300°F. Use a sharp knife to cut a cross-hatch pattern about 1/4" deep into the fatty side of the pork belly.
  • Place the pork belly on a roasting pan and cook for 2 hours, until the pork is cooked through and tender. Turn the oven up to 500ºF and continue to cook the pork belly until crispy, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Let the pork belly cool to room temperature. Wrap the pork tightly in plastic and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours and up to a few days.
  • When ready to serve, slice the pork into ½” pieces. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Brown the pork belly on all sides then remove to a paper towel lined plate.

For assembly:

  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and allow to melt. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk in the gochujang, sugar and cashew butter until completely combined. Keep warm until ready to use.
  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, add the pork belly and sauté until crispy on all sides, about 6 minutes. Remove to a large bowl, leaving as much oil in the pan as you can and return the pan to heat.
  • Add the rice into the pan in an even layer and cook, untouched, until the bottom is crispy and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Stir and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Divide the crispy rice among serving bowls and return the pan to heat.
  • Add the pork back to the pan and heat for an additional minute then add the gochujang sauce and toss to combine.
  • Divide among the serving bowls. Top each with the cashews, cilantro, green onions, radish and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

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  1. 5 stars
    Loved this recipe! The sauce was delicious and paired perfectly with pork belly. Can’t wait to make it again!