At first glance, this may appear to be some lame joke on how to prepare a dish... but I kid you not - what you're looking at is a kickass method for making that old favourite - Chinese Roasted Pork Rice... with a twist.
In essence, this recipe borrows from the traditional method of roasting pork in an underground coal pit, where the intensity of the heat causes the meat to steam (from its own juices) as well as roast at the same time.
Now instead of heading out to your garden with a shovel to achieve porcine greatness, this recipe simply requires the pork belly to be cooked skin side down in a wok under a tight fitting bowl and covered in rice that cooks and bakes the pork at the same time.
What's brilliant about this method that you end up with a delicious crust for the rice flavoured brilliantly by the drippings and fat rendered from the roasted pork. The meat, through the baking process becomes melt in your mouth tender and has an unexpectedly intense flavour from steaming in its own juices. Best of all. the crackling formed from the slow searing of the pork skin in the wok is irresistably crisp.
500 lean pork belly (skin on)
Salt (to taste)
Crush szechuan peppercorns (to taste)
5 cups long grain jasmine rice
5 cups water
1. Stab skin of pork belly with a fork and rub in salt and crushed szechuan peppercorns. Leave for at least 1 hour at room temperature.
2. Place rice and water in a wok with a tight fitting lid and bring to a boil, stirring to prevent sticking.
3. When the water has mostly been absorbed and rice has reached a thick cosistency, push grains to one half of the wok. Then, place pork belly skin side down on the other half and cover with a fitting bowl. Push bowl (covering pork) into centre of wok and pack tightly with the rice. Cover wok with lid and cook over a low flame for 60 minutes.
4. Turn heat to medium high and cook for a further 5 minutes. Turn off flame and leave to stand for at least 5 minutes without lifting the lid.
5. Lift the lid from the wok, scoop out bowl from underneath the rice and cut pork into bite size pieces. Serve with accompanying rice and scratch your head wondering how something so simple could be so darn good.