Lip-Smacking Watermelon and Crispy Pork Belly Salad

Life’s all about balance, and this watermelon and pork belly salad perfectly embodies this idea. It’s sweet, salty, tangy and spicy all at the same time and without being overwhelming. The lightness of the watermelon balances out the rich pork belly, while the crunchy greens drenched in a lemon and ginger dressing delicately bind this dish together. One may call it a carefully orchestrated symphony for your tastebuds.

The inspiration for this salad comes from the famous Fatty Crab restaurant that I frequented in my early days in Hong Kong. This dish and house wine were my Saturday night staples. Some of you may think the combination of watermelon and pork is a bit outlandish but it works! Just like pineapple slices on pizza.

Watermelon and pork belly salad

Lip-Smacking Watermelon and Pork Belly Salad

4.30 from 10 votes
Course Appetizer, Salad
Servings 1

Equipment

  • Oven

Ingredients
  

  • 150 grams pork belly

For the marinade

  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp crushed black pepper
  • 4-5 watermelon cubes
  • 4-5 basil leaves
  • 1-2 spring onions cut lengthwise
  • 1/2 tbsp kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soya sauce)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the dressing

  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp ginger juice (grate ginger and squeeze out the juice using a sieve or cheesecloth)
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar

Instructions
 

Preparing the pork belly

  • Mix the first four ingredients of the marinade into a bowl. Then place the pork belly skin side up into the marinade. Make sure the marinade doesn't touch the skin side. This will ensure that the skin turns crispy as it cooks. Finally sprinkle the salt and pepper on the skin, cover the container and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to overnight. One hour is more than enough if you are in a hurry
  • Preheat the oven to about 230C. Meanwhile remove the pork belly from the refrigerator and let it come up to room temperature. Place the pork belly skin side up in an oven-proof dish and pour the marinade around it, careful not to pour it on the skin. Then place it on a middle rack in the oven and let it cook for about 30 minutes. Lower the heat to about 180C and cook for another 30 minutes. It's ready once it's cooked all the way through but isn't falling apart.
  • Cut the pork into cubes. Heat the sesame oil in a pan or skillet and place the pork cubes skin side down so it turns crispy. Keep turning the pork cubes around till it's golden brown on all sides. Make sure the skin side gets the most contact with the pan so it crisps up. Once it's crispy enough pour the kecap manis into the pan and ensure the pork is covered in the thick glaze. Turn off the heat and set it aside.

Salad preparation

  • Combine the three ingredients for the marinade and add the tiniest (less than half a pinch of salt) and toss in the green onions in it

Assembly

  • First place the watermelon and pork belly cubes on a plate
    Watermelon and pork belly
  • Then place the basil leaves and the spring onions
    Watermelon and pork belly with basil and green onion
  • Sprinkle sesame seeds and the drizzle some dressing over the watermelon and it's ready to eat!
    Watermelon and pork belly salad

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