oh pork belly – how i love thee, braised pork belly with star anise and coffee rub

Having a rep as a conscious, healthy eater – I wanted to show that I too can cook mean, fatty porky dishes at times \ / (that’s me with an angry face;))…  Actually – I think that we all deserve to “fall off the wagon” and indulge a bit now and then.  Otherwise – the healthy stuff gets to be a chore and there’s no “reward” for being good, you know?  Life’s too short to deprive yourself – just in moderation and balance of good and bad, i think.

Adopted and inspired by a recipe for Caramel-Lacquered Pork Belly with Quick-Pickled Honeydew in a Food & Wine magazine, I bought my first pork belly at Whole Foods since what seems like over a decade ago.  The trick is to season it close to 24 hours and to roast lo and slow~~  and my proud, awesome secret?  Fresh ground coffee & star anise rub – yup.  That was Me.  KICKS!  AZZ!  It was so tender and succulent that I almost cried… and so did my hubby ^ ^

Coffee & Star-Anise Rubbed Pork Belly (with Roasted Khulrabi)

Ingredients (serves 4):


– 1 lb pork belly

– 2 tbsp sea salt, fresh ground black pepper to season

– 1 tbsp evap cane juice/sugar (tenderizes, seasons and browns the meat)

– 2 tbsp fresh ground coffee & 1 whole star anise (ground)


– 1/2 cup evap cane juice/sugar

– 1 tbsp tamarind paste (optional – most difficult to find even at Asian grocery stores.  Look for it in a compacted block form, sorta like whole bunch of dried plums smashed into a 6×6 cube)

– 1 tbsp asian fish sauce

– 1 tsp fresh grated ginger

– 1 tbsp fresh lime juice

– 1 small Thai chile (minced)

((You can prep it the night before (~8-9pm), tuck it away in the fridge, sprinkle coffee bean/star anise mixture the morning of, season it for another ~6 hrs and then braise it for dinner))

1) Mix salt, sugar and black pepper in a bowl.  Sprinkle over pork belly, wrap twice tightly in plastic wrap and store in fridge.

2) After ~12 hours of marinating, unwrap the belly, sprinkle and rub the coffee bean/star anise mixture, wrap it again and marinate it for another ~6 hrs.  Rinse belly and rub dry.

3) In a pre-heated 375 oven, set pork on a shallow baking/casserole dish with 1/4 cup of water at the bottom, fat side up.  Roast for 35-40 min.  Reduce temperature to 300 and roast for 1 hr.  Turn off oven and leave for 30-40 min to cool.

4)  Making caramel sauce:  Melt 1/4 cup evap cane juice in medium heat sauce pan until melts and starts caramelizing (stir occassionally).  Add another 1/4 cup evap cane juice to melt until it becomes a rich brown caramel.  Add 1/3 cup water to dilute and stir until caramel is smooth.  Cool for 1 minute, add fish sauce, tamarind paste, ginger, chile, and lime juice.  Turn off heat.

5) Cut the cooled pork belly into 2.5 x 2.5 squares and scrape the fat skin lightly (should fall right off).  Sear (no oil needed) on a cast iron pan until brown (about 3 min).

6) Drizzle caramel sauce and serve with your favorite sides.  Vegetable menu for the night – roasted kohlrabi tossed with olive oil, salt/pepper and drizzled lemon juice.  Roasted at the same time as the second 1/2 time of the pork belly.

made with 2 tbsp of love; love for food, love for life.


About chefkelly

Leveraging a lifelong passion for food and combining a unique cultural mesh of korean cuisine, robust flavors of Texas BBQ and California cuisine, Chef Kelly brings her own signature style to delectable perfect bites exploring complex and often surprising interplay of flavors, textures and colors. She has honed and shared her craft through her experiences from five star restaurant kitchens to private cooking instruction to her self-written food blog at chefkelly.com all made with 2 tablespoons of love; love for food, love for life.
This entry was posted in becoming a chef, Chef Kelly and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to oh pork belly – how i love thee, braised pork belly with star anise and coffee rub

  1. blessin says:

    SO GLAD you posted a pork belly recipe! I’ve been wanting a good one and I want to squeeze it in before bikini season starts. I’ll let you know how it goes!

    • chefkelly says:

      send me a pic when you try it out. yup – it is bikini season (soon)… not too much pork belly for me:( why does food that taste so good have to be so bad for you? mike says it’s not even real meat – pretty much all fat and umami goodness~

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *