Amazing Asian Five Spice Pork Belly

This is one of the tastiest meals EVER!

Pork belly is something that I have seen on a few TV cooking shows lately but, to be honest, the thought of the thick layer of fat over a relatively thin layer of meat hasn’t really appealed. However, I saw quite a nice looking piece on special at the supermarket so I decided to buy it. The challenge was then to find a recipe that didn’t involve too many strange ingredients.

I adapted this recipe from by substituting all the things that I didn’t have! Removing the slightly less common ingredients also makes this a bit cheaper.

The end result is melt-in-the-mouth pork that is full of Asian flavours. My husband doesn’t usually like anything fatty but he said that this was some of the most delicious meat that I have ever cooked 🙂

I made this in my large cast iron casserole dish as it has a lid and can go both on the stovetop and in the oven. If you don’t have anything similar then cook the first part (stovetop) in a frying pan or wok, the second part (oven) in any large ovenproof dish that has a lid, and then finish the sauce (stovetop) back in the frying pan.

Obviously this meal isn’t something that will be great for those on a diet but, like most things that taste this good, it is OK eaten in moderation. With that in mind, I think this is best served in relatively small portions with a pile of cooked rice. It definitely feeds 4 but if you add some steamed Asian greens then I think it would feed 6.

Ingredients – serves 4/6:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • approx 1kg/2.2 lbs boneless pork belly, cut into 3cm/1 inch chunks
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 and 1/2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup (loosely packed) brown sugar
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice (from a bottle is fine)
  • 4 spring (green) onions, sliced, to serve
  • cooked white rice, to serve
  • steamed Asian greens, such as bok choy, to serve


  • Heat your oven to 180C/160C fan forced/350F.
  • Heat the oil in your flameproof casserole dish (or frying pan/wok) over a medium heat on the stovetop.
  • Add the pork chunks and brown in small batches until coloured all over. Remove each batch to a plate then repeat until all pork is browned.
  • Add the onion and garlic to the dish/pan and cook over a medium heat until the onion is softened.
  • Return the pork to the dish/pan and then stir in the soy sauce, water, brown sugar, star anise and five spice. Bring to the boil.
  • Once the liquid is boiling, put the lid on the dish and carefully transfer it to the oven. (If you have used a frying pan/wok for the above, this is the point where you carefully transfer everything to a casserole dish.)
  • Cook with the lid on for 90 minutes, stirring half way through the cooking time.
  • Remove from the oven and place over a high heat on the stovetop (if necessary transferring back to your wok if that is how you started). Boil for 8-10 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the fish sauce and lime juice.
  • Use tongs to take the star anise out before serving.
  • Serve immediately, topped with the sliced spring (green) onions as well as the cooked white rice and greens.
  • Enjoy!

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7 Responses to Amazing Asian Five Spice Pork Belly

  1. Anne says:

    Oh my god, that’s amazing!

  2. I know that when I lived back in the States I would have never tried pork belly as we were always taught to only use the lean pieces of meat but with this dish, the locals tell me, you really do need the fatty portion to give it that very special flavor. It just really works!

  3. putneyfarm says:

    Nice recipe! We love pork belly (in small doses) but haven’t tries it with this level of spice…sounds great! Will try. (good photos, btw)

  4. Pingback: Twice Cooked Honey Soy Pork Belly with Radishes and Kale | Recipe Adaptors

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