Sunday 7 November 2010


Roast meats hanging at Chinese restaurant windows are always such head turners. These glistening cuts of meat, duck and chicken are cooked according to age old recipes in a special oven which gives them that special crisp skin and juicy, tender meat. 

The roast pork called siew yoke (or siu yoke) is made with pork belly. The layers of fat in that part of the pig makes the meat sweet and moist. The rind that turns into crackling is the much sought after part  of this joint. It can be cooked easily at home, even in a domestic oven. 

This is a short cut recipe that doesn't entail hours of drying or laborious pricking of the skin. Follow the easy steps and you end up with a perfect joint each time.


1.5 kg. joint of belly pork, skin on
2 tsps. light soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. five spice powder
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. fine salt
cooking oil for basting


Prepare the pork by wiping it dry with kitchen paper. Check that the skin is free of hair, if not pluck with tweezers. 

Mix the soy sauce, sugar, five spice powder and sesame oil in a roasting pan. Sit the pork joint in this mixture making sure that only the meat part is seasoned and the skin is completely dry. 

Sprinkle the skin with salt. This will extract moisture from the skin and ensure that it will crisp up upon roasting. Leave for a few minutes. Wipe off the moisture that has formed on the pork skin with paper towel.  oil. 

Preheat the oven to 400° F/ 200° C.  

Baste the skin with oil. 

Transfer the joint to a roasting pan with a rack. Sit the pork on the rack and pour some water in the pan (make sure it doesn't reach the rack nor the meat). This will not only keep the meat moist, but also prevent the drippings from burning in the pan. Put the roasting pan in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. 

Lower the heat to 350° F/180° C and roast for a further hour and twenty minutes. The meat can be tested by pinching a bit of the meat. If it comes off easily, then its cooked. 

Raise the oven temperature to 400° F/ 200° C. for about twenty minutes or until the skin is crisp and blistered. 

Let rest for a few minutes before chopping into serving pieces. Serve with chilli oil or sweet and sour sauce.

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