September 26th, 2009


Sous Vide Belly of Pork with Soy Bean and Udon Stir Fry

Thanks go to James who has kindly reminded me of this sous vide belly of pork dish that I’m always going on about. He called last week in search for the recipe as he was about to cook for a very important guest. Whilst James served this beautifully cooked belly of pork for a high profile dinner.I am home making this for our supper. That’s exactly what I love about this modern approach to cooking. Sous vide cooking is a revelation and I’m incredibly privileged to have all the equipment to hand. It’s not completely out of reach at all, the friendly people from Clifton have teamed up with the British Larder to compile a sous vide package so that you can do this at home.

James and I started talking about cooking the pork belly under pressure and he told me that he  cooked it a few weeks ago at 62°C but it was not very good as the fat remained chewy and fairly unpleasant. I have found that if you cook dense and complex meats such as pork belly, shoulder of lamb or if you cook meat on the bone such as chicken legs the temperature must be above 80°C to ensure a tender result. If you cook more tender proteins and cuts such as fillet of beef or cannon of lamb off the bone then 57°C is absolutely ideal.

We  love pork belly and it’s not difficult to cook it in the oven as per my pot roast belly of pork recipe however cooking the belly for 9 hours at 83°C breaks down all the fat and it becomes a melt in the mouth experience. Every person that I have asked to taste this pork belly are always lost for words, it makes me smile as that is the ultimate praise a chef could ask for.

I do not use salt to season  the ‘belly’ but use soy sauce and add Port wine. I think this is another very clever bonus that you get by using this modern cooking technique as you get an instant sauce. There is minimal shrinkage and hardly any waste, generally very good for the Gross Profit as the amount of liquids or marinade required is minimal.


To reheat the ‘belly ‘I sliced and pan fried the pieces however if you  have a dinner party then all you need to do is pop the pieces of cooked’ belly’ on a lined baking tray in a preheated oven at 150°C and gently heat, while your guests enjoy their starters. This dish is versatile and it’s ideal for a starter, main course, stand up hot bowl food buffet or just simply dinner for two!

Sous Vide Belly of Pork

  • 1kg belly of pork
  • 30g honey
  • 40ml soy sauce
  • 40ml Port wine or red wine
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 2 bay leafs
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed

Heat the water bath to 83°C.

Prepare the pork belly by removing all the hairs with a razor and cut it into 6 x 7cm x 7cm pieces, this is optional as you could cook the belly as one whole piece and cut it into the required shapes after chilling. Make sure you wear clean disposable gloves when you prepare the meat for sous vide cooking.

Stir the rest of the ingredients together to make the marinade.

Place the belly of pork into a clean large vacuum bag and add the marinade, I seal the belly twice on hard vacuum as the vacuum opens the pores of the pork and the marinade penetrates faster and more effectively. (seal once, cut open and seal again)

Cook the 'belly' pieces  in the preheated water bath for 9 hours. If you have left the 'belly' whole I recommend that  cooking time should be 12 hours.

Chill the belly in ice water once cooked and refridgerate until needed.

Soy Bean and Udon Stir Fry

  • 450g Fresh Udon Noodles
  • 150g Soy beans, I used the frozen ones, defrosted
  • 100g shitake mushrooms sliced
  • 50g curley kale, julienned
  • 2tbs sesame oil
  • 1tbs sunflower oil
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • cooked belly of pork

Remove the cooked 'belly' from the bag and place it to one side, scrape all the jelly into a small saucepan.

Melt the jelly and pass it through a sieve back into a clean small saucepan and bring to the boil , reduce until it becomes a thick glossy and coating sauce.

Slice the 'belly'  and heat a non-stick frying pan, without adding any oil to the pan, fry  until golden on both sides.

Heat a large wok with the sunflower  and sesame oils and stir fry by starting with the mushrooms followed by the noodles and kale and lastly add the defrosted soy beans, season lightly.

Divide the stir fry between 6 warm bowls and place the pork belly slices ontop and glaze with the sauce.

Serves 6

Food Fanatics Tips

The choice is yours on how you wish to serve this dish, I quite like the stir fry as the 'belly' is very rich. Do not over season the stir fry as the sauce of the 'belly' is strong and heavily seasoned with the soy sauce.

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8 Comments to “Sous Vide Belly of Pork with Soy Bean and Udon Stir Fry”

  1. James Bailey says:

    Doing this next week with level three students at Tamworth college to introduce sous vide cooking into the course

  2. neil says:

    First of all love the website. some really lovely recipes on here and some great photography.

    I often cook belly sous vide, and often at 82oC for 12 hours for convenience sake. But I must disagree with your conclusion of low temperature cooking. Given a long enough timeline any tough meat on the bone or off can become meltingly tender at low temperatures. Pork belly at anything like 62 degrees will take at least three days to break down the necessary connective tissues but when it does a chemical within the tissues will tenderize the meat further . I recently tried some beef ribs and cheeks Heston cooked at 56oC for 52 and 72 hours hours that were sublime.

  3. Madalene says:

    Hi Neil,
    Thank you for your comment on this dish. I completely understand where you come from. By belief is that cooking is subjective and there is not really a right or wrong as long as it works for the individual and we cook food safely it’s all good.
    I hope you can appreciate that I have a large and varied audience reading and using my website and I continuously try not to make the recipes to tedious, I cannot imagine that everyone will have the endurance to wait for their supper for three days.
    Then there is the safety aspect, I’m not 100% convinced that keeping meet at 56 degrees C for 72hours is “safe”, I think if your eat that kind of food cooked at a “high risk” it’s o.k to do so at a restaurant as you trust that the chefs would ensure that food poisoning is not going to happen, however I do not want to advocate that for home cooking or non-professional chefs as I do not want to take responsibility for unfortunate events. My recipes are about real cooking and not fictional a nice to read but never to do.
    I completely agree with your theory about the connective tissue breaking down over a long period of cooking but my method and temperatures and my theory is valid too for the duration of cooking time that I apply.
    Happy Cooking,

  4. [...] Sous Vide Belly of Pork with Soy Bean and Udon Stir Fry Recipe By … [...]

  5. Helen says:

    Oh, how I wish I could make this! Argh!

  6. Barry says:

    very Popular stir fry dish in Mauritius..instead of curly kale we use Pak Choy the stem part as it stays crispy… and we also add ginger and garlic to the sauce

  7. James says:

    Hmm sous vide. Love cooking belly pork. But I tried shoulder (6 – 7 hours) this year and take up of that increased 5 fold at least. I’m making it tomorrow too. Some people I think are scared of the fat. Shame really – it’s the tasiest part. The noodles/ soy/ thai fish sauce/ lime is my favourite way of doing at home in the small hours of the morning.

  8. This sounds delicious although a fiddle. We’re going to be eating plain and simple food for a few weeks to overcome the holiday bingeing!

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