This is the best way to achieve crackling without spending hours brining and drying out your pork. The marinade is your braising liquid which ends up becoming your saucy sauce so this one hits on so many fronts.
1.5-1.8kg pork belly, skin scored at 1cm intervals
1 tbsp salt flakes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 black garlic cloves (if unavailable just use an extra 2 garlic cloves)
2 tbsp brown sugar
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup kecap manis
¼ cup soy sauce
400ml can coconut cream
Coriander peanut nam jim
¾ cup salted peanuts, crushed
½ cup caster sugar
½ cup coriander leaves, finely chopped
¼ cup Thai basil, finely chopped (reserve a few flowers to scatter, optional)
¼ cup Vietnamese mint leaves, finely chopped
½ red chilli, very finely sliced
¼ cup fish sauce
3cm knob ginger, finely grated
1. Preheat oven to 190C fan-forced (210C conventional).
2. For the pork belly marinade, combine all ingredients, except for the coconut cream, in a blender and blitz until the onion is completely broken down. Add the coconut cream and stir to combine. Pop in the fridge until ready to go.
3. Rub the salt and olive oil into the scored pork belly then place it skin-side-down in a roasting tray. Pop in the oven and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove from the oven. Working quickly, take out the pork belly and pour off any of the fatty oil. (This is important so that the braising liquid doesn't become overly fatty and you can use it as a sauce for the pork when serving.) Return the pork belly to the roasting dish, skin-side-up.
4. Very carefully pour the marinade around the pork belly, being careful not to splash any on the skin and return to the oven and cook for a further 30 minutes.
5. While the pork is roasting prepare the peanut nahm jim. Lay a piece of baking paper on a flat surface next to your cook top. Add the peanuts and spread out in a single layer.
6. Add the sugar and water to a saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to high and cook until the mixture is turning a lovely deep brown colour. Remove and carefully pour over the peanuts. It will set within a minute or so. Break up the toffee and add to a mortar and pestle. Give it a quick pound so you have glorious chunky broken bits of toffee and peanut. Add the remaining ingredients and give it a quick stir.
7. Remove the pork from the oven and rest for 15 minutes. Scoop some of the cooking liquid from the roasting pan directly onto a serving platter – about ½ a cup as a very rough guide. Gently place the pork on top and scoop over the peanut nahm jim. Pour the remaining cooking liquid into a serving jug and serve alongside the pork. Scatter with Thai basil flowers, if using, and serve.