Recipe: Sam Low’s Twice-Cooked Pork With Cumin

By Sam Low
This pork dish is packed with flavour, seasoned with garlic, dark soy sauce, cumin, chilli and fermented black bean. Photo / Melanie Jenkins

The pre-cooking of the pork belly here means the second cook of the pork is purely to caramelise and render the fat, which seasons the vegetables that are tossed with spices. It’s the perfect dish for maximum rice-eating potential. I highly recommend cooking more pork than you need and freezing the sliced portions for future use or keeping them in the fridge to be cooked in the next few days.

The Lowdown

Boil the pork belly until cooked and cool. Fry sliced, cooled pork belly with aromatics, seasoning and vegetables. Allow 30 minutes to cook pork, 10 minutes to stir-fry after overnight cooling of pork.


Serves 2-4 as a protein side with rice

Pork preparation

300g boneless skin-on pork belly (ideally 20–30 per cent fat)

1 litre water

30g fresh ginger, sliced

2 Tbsp salt

Second cook

2 Tbsp oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp dark soy sauce

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 Tbsp chilli flakes

1 Tbsp fermented black bean (optional but highly recommended)

100g leek or ½ a small leek, cut into 3 cm slices

½ capsicum, deseeded and cut into 2 cm slices

1 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp ground cumin

1 small red fresh chilli, chopped (optional)
  1. In a medium-sized pot large enough to fit the whole pork belly and water, add in all the ingredients for the pork preparation and bring to a simmer. Allow the pork to simmer on medium-low for 25 minutes, or until the pork is cooked and slightly tender.
  2. Turn off the heat and discard the water. Cool the pork belly completely in the fridge, for 1 hour minimum or ideally overnight.
  3. Once the pork belly is completely cooled, cut into slices about 4–5 mm thick. Heat the oil in a large pan/wok and fry the pork belly slices over a high heat until the pork is developing some colour and rendering the fat out, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, dark soy sauce, cumin seeds, chilli flakes and black bean, if using. Fry until aromatic, about 3 minutes. Add the leek, capsicum, salt, sugar and ground cumin and continue to stir-fry for about 3–4 minutes until the leek is cooked and translucent.
  5. Turn off the heat, stir through the chopped fresh chilli, if using, and taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Recipe extracted from Modern Chinese: 70+ easy, everyday recipes from the winner of MasterChef NZ by Sam Low. Recipe photography © Melanie Jenkins (Flash Studios). Published by Allen & Unwin NZ, $50, out now.

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