Caramel Pork Belly

Caramel Pork Belly

I’m almost officially back, not quite yet though. But I couldn’t NOT blog for another week, I have had quite a bit of withdrawal symptoms and thus decided to share with you my version of Alvin from MasterChef Australia’s Caramel Pork.

When I saw Alvin making it during this last season, I just knew I had to make it. I have, along with the rest of the country, fallen very deeply in love with pork belly over the last year or so and the thought of it being drenched in a sweet and fragrant sauce, served with Jasmine rice gets me salivating every time…every single time!

Caramel Pork Belly

I didn’t follow a recipe with this, just my own nose and palate. To soften the pork I poached it in a aromatic stock filled with spices and vegetables for a few hours. If you want to make this over a few days, I suggest you poach the pork and then let it cool in the broth, pop it into the fridge and then continue with the recipe the next day.

I served this with steamed Jasmine Rice and sugar snap peas and it was all gobbled up in a matter of minutes!

Click here for Jan Tripepi’s version of Caramel Pork 

Caramel Pork Belly


Serves 4

For the poaching
1kg pork belly
1.5 liters chicken/vegetable stock
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup oyster sauce
1/2 cup fish sauce
2 onions, quartered
6 garlic cloves
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole chillies, split in half
1 cup sugar
For the “Caramel”
1/2 cup light soy sauce
1/2 cup ketchup manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
1/3 cup oyster sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 cup golden syrup
2 tsp dried chilli, crushed (this amount makes it quite spicy, adjust to your own taste)
salt to taste
For serving
steamed jasmine rice
steamed sugar snap peas
fresh coriander

  1. Combine all the poaching ingredients in a large pot and allow to simmer gently for 2-3 hours until the pork is soft but not falling apart.
  2. Drain the pork and keep 2 cups of the broth. Cut the pork into bite sized cubes.
  3. In a wok, fry the pork in canola oil/peanut oil for 5 minutes. (be careful at this stage, the pork has a tendency to pop and hiss at you)
  4. Add the reserved broth and all the ‘caramel’ ingredients and allow to simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Season to taste.
  5. Serve with jasmine rice, sugar snap peas and fresh coriander.



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Alida Ryder
Alida Ryder
Being a general food freak has proven to be quite helpful in this career I've found myself in. Author of two cookbooks, photographer, food stylist. Mom to twins. Ex make-up and hair artist obsessed with beautiful clothes and spaces. I love a good G&T and I've been known to spend too much money on shoes.
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  • Imah

    How nice to have you back> i kindda took for granted checking up ur feeds every morning and i am so glaaaaaaaaaaaad you’re back (or almost). this looks delish, will have to try it, i personally do not eat pork, i dont think it tastes any good but everyone keeps on telling me the opposite so i will try this and let u know

    • Ally_R

      Imah, I have fallen in love with pork over the last few months and I eat it quite often now, you just need to play with the flavours. If you do try this, let me know what you think. (Also, it’s important to get free-range pork as most of the pigs in SA are not and that influences the taste immensely!)

  • Sam

    This looks lip smackingl good Ally. Too divine.

    • Ally_R

      Thanks Samlet! :)

  • PinkPOlkaDot

    O gosh, Ally!! Hierdie lyk en klink heerlik! Welkom terug!

  • Taryn

    Love your blog – my salivary glands are going into overdrive! :) Good to see another Yuppiechef fan too. We love Yuppiechef, especially the minichef sessions the kids and I are involved in. yum yum! Thanks for popping by to my blog – I’ve answered your pinboard questions there :)

  • Beth

    I made this the other night, it was absolutely divine.

    I then used similar flavourings to parboil pork ribs last night, and then finished them off on the gas grill – also yummy!
    We are lucky to have Martin from CureDeli here in Cape Town to supply us with free-range pork. His products are amazing.

    Thanks again for a great recipe!

  • Matthew

    When you coming back? missing the daily fun of reading your blog!!!

    • Ally_R

      Matthew, soon I promise! :) Good to know that I’m missed though.

  • Megan

    Love your recipes! Where can I find light soy sauce? Have been looking everywhere, but no luck.

  • David

    What is fish sauce?

    • Ally_R

      David, Fish sauce is also known as Nam Pla. It is a sauce made from fish have been allowed to ferment, and even though this sounds quite disgusting, it is a great way to add flavour to curries and Asian dishes. The smell is quite strong but if used in the right quantities, it is absolutely great!

  • Nadia

    I tried this recipe over the holiday and it was absolutely heavenly! It was the most exotic dish we had over the holiday and loved all the eastern infusion. Will definitely repeat this recipe as an entertaining hit with friends!
    Thank you for this awesome recipe!!

    • Ally_R

      Nadia, so glad you liked it. It’s one of my favourite dishes too!

  • Jack

    Hey, this recipe looks absolutely amazing! I really have to try this, and I have some pork belly ready to go, but its bone in. would this matter for this recipe?


    • Alida Ryder

      Jack, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem, just try to cut around the bone when you cube the belly after cooking.

  • Adri

    Hi Alida, the pork belly looks fantastic! Thinking of cooking this for an upcoming dinner party. I just want to know, do you leave the skin on the pork belly? Thanks!

    • Alida Ryder

      Adri, I didn’t remove the skin but having said that, I can’t remember there being too much of a skin on the belly I used. I think as you’re not looking at creating crackling, you could remove the skin as it serves no purpose in this dish.

      • Adri

        Thank you for the super quick reply! Think I might opt for skin off then. Looking forward to making it… and eating it. :-)

  • Leah

    Hello! This dish looks fantastic and I plan on making it tomorrow with my dad for our “food adventure day”. :)
    What type of chillies do you use? For both the whole and dried? I wasn’t sure which type works best. Thank you!!

    • Alida Ryder

      Leah, I used bird’s eye chillies but Thai or any other small chilli will work. I just used regular chilli flakes from the supermarket for the dried.

  • Megan Bytheway

    I followed the poaching recipe, then let the skin (keeping the meat in the poaching liquid) air dry in the fridge overnight, and then roasted it on HIGH for about an hour. I served it with a tossed green salad with balsamic vinegar and vermicelli noodles (softened in the hot porkbelly juices from the roasting dish) and beetroot. Probably would have added some fresh figs if I had them.

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