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Tamarind and Ginger Crispy braised Pork Belly with Bitter Melon and Green Papaya Salad

Serves: 4

Skill level: Moderate

The light, yet rich Asian flavours of this impressive dish and the vibrant green aromas of Queen Adelaide sauvignon blanc, are a match made in delicious heaven.

The cool, crisp QA sauvignon Blanc partners the sweet and tart pork and the bitterness of this fresh and zingy salad like an oriental dream.


  • 1kg piece of Pork Belly
  • ¼ cup of fine Sea Salt
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cups good quality Chicken Stock
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh Ginger
  • 4 tsp Tamarind Puree ***
  • 1 tsp Chinese Five Spice
  • 3 tsp Light Soy Sauce
  • ½ cup firmly packed Brown Sugar
  • Coriander and baby herbs to serve

Bitter Melon and Green Papaya Salad

  • ½ small Bitter Melon ***
  • ½ small Green Papaya ***
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple


  • 2 Limes, juiced
  • 1 tsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 3 tsp Fish Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Caster Sugar


  • Dry the pork belly with absorbent paper, and then evenly distribute the sea salt over the skin. Leave in a cool place for 1 hour to allow the salt to permeate and draw the moisture out of the skin.
  • Pre-heat your fan forced oven to 250°c or its highest temperature.
  • After 1 hour, dry the pork skin thoroughly with more absorbent paper and massage in 1 tbs of olive oil. Place the pork into a snug 20x20 metal *** baking tray and place into your preheated oven for 30 minutes to crisp up the skin.
  • In a large jug, mix together well the chicken stock, ginger, tamarind puree, Chinese five spice and light soy sauce. After 30 minutes, reduce the heat of the oven to 160°c, remove your belly from the oven and carefully pour the flavoured stock around the pork directly into the baking tray – being very careful not to cover the crispy skin. Carefully place your pork back into the oven and bake for a further 90 minutes.
  • To make the salad – Peel the hard skin from the green papaya using a sharp knife and remove all the seeds. Using the grating attachment of your food processor (or a hand held grater) grate the green papaya. Core and grate the apple. Cut the bitter melon in half lengthways and remove the seeds and fibrous core. Very finely slice the bitter melon into half-moons, use a mandolin if you have one. Place all the fruit and vegetables into a large bowl with the dressing and toss together well. Set aside until ready to serve. Scatter over the reserved coriander leaves immediately before serving.
  • Once the Pork is cooked, remove from the braising liquid and set aside uncovered to rest while you reduce the liquid to a sauce. Strain the braising liquid into a small saucepan and add the brown sugar, bring to the boil and simmer rapidly for 15 minutes or until thick and syrupy.

Serve the Crispy Braised Pork with the Caramel Sauce, Green Papaya Salad and a chilled glass of Queen Adelaide Sauvignon Blanc.

*** Tamarind puree is the pureed, seedless pulp from the Tamarind plant, a tart and rich pod like fruit. You can buy it at all good Asian grocers and supermarkets.

*** Bitter Melon is an extremely bitter fruit commonly used in Asian, African and Caribbean food. Use sparingly and slice very thinly when raw as the flavour will over power your dish otherwise. It adds such a wonderful bitterness that offsets the tartness and sweetness of this salad and pairs perfectly with the rich caramel pork.

*** Green Papaya is the young, unripe papaya fruit. It is readily available at all good Asian grocers and supermarkets.