Pork Belly with Preserved Mustard Greens – Mui Choy Kau Yoke
Tender pork belly steamed with salty preserved vegetables and a savoury, sweet and spiced sauce. Adapted from The Hakka Cookbook by Linda Lau Anusasananan.
4 – 6 Servings
4 – 6 Servings
The pork
  • 1kilogram boneless pork bellyskin still attached
  • 1tablespoon coarse sea salt
  • 2teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1teaspoon five spice powder
  • 1.5litres water
  • 2teaspoons cider vinegar
The preserved mustard greens
  • 450grams preserved mustard greens(salted or salted sweet variety)
  • 1tablespoon shallotminced
  • 1tablespoon garlicminced
  • 1tablespoon gingerminced
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil
The sauce
  • 750mililitres chicken stock(preferably unsalted or low sodium if using bought)
  • 125mililtres shaoxing rice wine
  • 60grams rock sugar
  • 1tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 25grams fresh gingersliced
  • 1stick cinnamon(about 3 inches)
  • 1pod cardamonlightly crushed
  • 1whole star anise
The pork
  1. First up, prepare the pork by scoring the skin in a cross hatch pattern about 1cm apart. Mix together the 1 tbsp salt, 2 teaspoons of brown sugar and 1 tsp of five spice and then rub the mix all over the pork and into the skin cuts. Leave the pork to marinate for at least an hour in the fridge. I leave mine to brine overnight in the fridge, uncovered.
  2. Once the pork has marinated, place it in a heatproof pan or roasting dish (one that will withstand both boiling water, and the grill and oven). Meanwhile, preheat your grill to high.
  3. Mix together the water and vinegar and bring to boil before pouring it over the pork to cover it completely. Leave the pork submerged for about 60 seconds, then pour off the liquid and leave to cool for a minute before patting dry with some paper towel. Line your chosen roasting pan with foil and top with the pork belly, skin side up. Grill under high heat for 20 – 30 minutes, until the skin is browned and it has started to blister.
  4. Once the skin has browned switch over to the oven and roast at 120°C / 250°F for 1 hour, then remove from the oven and let it cool enough for you to handle. Cut the pork into 1/2 inch or 1.3 cm thick slices, about 3 inches / 8 cm long, and set aside.
The mustard greens
  1. While the pork is marinading, remove the mustard greens from the pack and rinse several time under running water to remove excess salt and any sand or grit in the vegetables. Cut the greens into 1/2 inch or 1.3cm pieces, place in a large bowl and rinse again (there’s a lot of rinsing, but let me tell you, nothing ruins dinner more than a mouthful of gritty, grainy, crunchy sand!). Cover the chopped greens with hot water, and leave to soak for about 1 hour, till the thicker stem pieces are soft. Drain and rinse once more, then squeeze any excess water out.
  2. Heat a wok or large pan to medium high heat, then add the oil. Add the shallot, garlic and ginger and stir fry for about a minute till fragrant and soft, but not burnt. Add the preserved mustard greens and continue to stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes, until everything is mixed and the greens have dried out. Remove from the heat and set aside.
The sauce
  1. Combine all the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, or enough heat to reduce the sauce by half. This will take about 20 – 30 minutes, leaving you with 500ml or so of the sauce. Remove from the heat and set aside.
To assemble
  1. Place the pork slices in rows, skin side down, so they fit snugly in a heatproof dish about 2 inches/ 5cm high (I use an 8 inch/ 20cm wide dish). Make sure this dish will fit inside your steamer! Spread the greens over and around the pork, then pour the sauce evenly over the top.
  2. Cover and steam for 2 to 3 hours until the pork is tender when a knife or skewer is inserted, and remember to check on the water level in your steamer.
To serve
  1. Once cooked, remove the whole dish from the steamer and let it cool for 5 minutes, as you’ll be doing a bit of plate juggling in a minute.
  2. Place a serving dish or plate with a rim upside down over the pork and greens (bear in mind there will be a fair amount of sauce, so choose something that will hold it all). Hold tightly, and quickly but carefully invert everything and remove the steamer dish – the greens should now be on the bottom, and the pork slices sitting skin side up on the serving plate. It may be an idea to do this over the sink, or else you like me you will have a very happy dog and a freshly cleaned kitchen floor. Alternatively, you can spoon off some of the excess sauce and set aside while you flip everything over, then pour the sauce back over the top to finish.
Recipe Notes

Depending on how much time you have, each of the components can be prepared ahead of time up to the day before and refrigerated until you’re ready to cook the final dish.