Fried Pork Belly Bites, a super easy recipe that requires no oven, and the bites are crispy and delicious, ready in well under an hour. Serve them with garlic and polenta, and you get a Romanian-style meal to lick your fingers clean.
With the cooler weather comes the craving for richer, fattier foods to keep us warm and cosy. I really wouldn't have these pork bites on a hot summer's day, it has to be proper cold outside to make the most of these intense flavours.
With pork being the favourite meat in Romania during the winter months, these bites come as a real treat, especially during the festive season when mountains of rich traditional dishes are served.
I have cooked pork belly before but as Roasted Pork Belly, and that was really nice, but not quite Romanian style I guess. Whereas these pork belly bites served with Romanian garlic sauce and polenta remind me of my childhood and home.
It's a very easy recipe, and you don't need anything special to cook it, just pork belly and salt, and nothing else. The meat is fatty enough not to need any other fat to cook in, you get lots of fat left in the pan as it is.
- pork belly - nay bones or cartilage removed, and cut into cubes
- salt - I used sea salt, but table salt work too
Step-by-step photos and instructions
- heat up a large frying pan over a medium heat
- add the pork cubes and leave them to cook slowly until a lot of fat melts and the bites turn light brown
- keep stirring now and then to make sure the pork cooks well on both sides
- increase the heat to medium high so that the bites can crisp up and turn brown
- use a slotted spoon to remove them bites from the pan, and transfer them to a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb the excess fat
Starting with a medium heat helps break down the fat well so that the bites can crisp up nicely, otherwise they will be too fatty still.
Be very careful when stirring the pork belly bites, as the hot oil can spit out and cause burns, I find that placing a lid on the pan can help towards the end of the cooking.
The pork is beautifully tender and crispy at the same time, and serving it with garlic sauce really work a treat, as the garlic cuts through the richness of the pork.
To make the Romanian garlic sauce, mince 2-3 cloves of garlic, add a pinch of salt and 2-3 tablespoons of water, and mix well, then pour it over the meat - it works really well with any kind of meat too, not just pork.
How to reheat the pork belly bites
The bites can cool down pretty quickly, and get covered in a white coating of fat. To reheat, simply pop them back into a frying pan until they are hot again. Alternatively, pop them into the oven on a high heat for 10 minutes or so.
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Pork Belly Bites
- 900 g pork belly ( 2 lb)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Remove any bones or cartilage from the pork belly and cut it into cubes.
- Heat up a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the pork bites and season them with salt.
- Leave them to cook slowly until a lot of fat breaks down and the bites turn golden, stirring occasionally to allow both sides to cook well.
- Increase the heat to medium high to help the pork crisp up and turn brown.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the bites from the pan, and transfer them onto a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb the excess fat.
- Serve hot!
- Starting with a medium heat helps break down the fat well so that the bites can crisp up nicely, otherwise they will be too fatty still.
- Be very careful when stirring the pork belly bites, as the hot oil can spit out and cause burns, I find that placing a lid on the pan can help towards the end of the cooking.
- The pork is beautifully tender and crispy at the same time, and serving it with garlic sauce really work a treat, as the garlic cuts through the richness of the pork.