Retox: Riff on Pork Belly Pho

Posted at March 1, 2012 by 1 Comment

Retox, it’s an interesting concept and one that’s dangerous in my view; think about it, an indulgent December followed by an abstemious January makes my body go into shock – and then, once your body has just about adjusted to the age of austerity that is a January detox, it gets shocked again by the sudden onslaught of salt, fat and alcohol. Far safer just forgetting the “detox” in the first place, it can only be bad for your health.

However, if you want to treat yourself, following a period of diet or not, I give you the best, most indulgent fat and flavour laden meat imaginable – Pork Belly.

A staple on gastropub menus the country wide, pork belly is something easy to get wrong, cook it for too short a time or at too high a temperature and you can end up with variously a hard, dry, fatty puck of protein that’s an insult to the noble beast who originated it; but treated with care – lightly cured with salt and sugar for a while before some long and slow cooking in an oven (or waterbath) produces the food of the Gods. The fats render through the meat, basting it from the inside, almost confiting it, the collagen transmutes into gelatine and the skin dries preparing the most wonderfully tender and succulent meat and crisp crackling; I roast mine on a bed of apple, onion, cider, garlic, sage and thyme which also steam the pork with the aromats while preparing the start of an awesome gravy. Serve this with a simple mash, roasties, sweetpotato rosti, ratatouille – there’s nothing Pork Belly doesn’t go with, but make sure you cook more than you think you’ll need because then you have – leftovers.

And leftovers are almost the best bit, the following day when you’re feeling kinda good but kinda guilty about all the fatty pork you scarfed (kinda like a one night stand), you can look forward to a cleansing Pho:

Riff on a Porky Pho


Leftover pork belly
Pork or chicken stock (or a mixture)
Spring Onions
Fish Sauce
Chilli (or sriracha)


1. Start by building the broth of your Pho, warm the stock and add sliced ginger and garlic to taste (I like mine aggressively garlicky and gingery) – to save waste and build flavour, I often use the left over gravy as well. Then add sliced chilli (Sriracha works well here too), a healthy glug of fish sauce, a good lot of lime juice and some sugar. Stir and taste, play about with the seasonings ‘till you really like it.

2. Shred the leftover pork belly into bite-sized chunks and add into the broth, then add noodles (I like Udon) and julienned spring onions and red peppers (you can also add other veg, carrot, radish, anything else you fancy) and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Serve in big bowls with a healthy amount of the broth and coriander scattered on top.

Easy, healthy and most of all – tasty.



Category : Recipes,Themed
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About Ross

Mildly offensive, hugely obsessive, highly opinionated, frightfully charming food geek. Cooks a bit, eats out a bit and likes experimenting. I geek out over: Charcuiterie, modern techniques and Bearnaise Twitter: @Happy_Appetite Blog:

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