This sweet pork belly with boiled eggs recipe is a firm favourite when placed on the table in a typical Cambodian feast. It’s a simple recipe, but one that has everyone eyeing off that last piece of pork belly and mopping up the remaining sauce.
This sweet pork belly with boiled eggs recipe makes a traditional Cambodian dish that was an inspiration for the creative Cambodian canapés we created for New Year’s Eve.
While the presentation was contemporary, the dish itself is rooted in a traditional Cambodian recipe. You could serve it in a rustic style or try it this way as a pre-dinner snack or part of an array of canapés if you’re entertaining.
Sweet Pork Belly with Boiled Eggs Recipe Served as a Cambodian Canapé
This sweet pork belly with boiled eggs recipe is a very traditional Cambodian recipe, which I have been making since we moved to Phnom Penh in 2012 when I first started cooking Cambodian food.
Our Phnom Penh stay was cut short because we went to Hanoi on assignment for the magazine that Lara was editing at the time and subsequently stayed on in Vietnam for seven months. While there, of course, we ate the Vietnamese version of this dish, which generally has the addition of star anise, and in some recipes also chillies.
Cambodian cuisine, like most of the Southeast Asian cuisines, and like the neighbouring cuisines of Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar, is very regional, which means there are variations of this dish to be found all over. In Cambodia, some recipes add ginger, one I saw adds cloves. One thing in common is that you must use a mortar and pestle to grind the garlic, peppercorns and coriander roots, not a food processor, which just rips things apart.
This sweet pork belly with boiled eggs recipe is rich and comforting, which is why it has a fascinating history and significant meaning in local Cambodian culture. The dish is often made for new mothers, to help them regain their strength. While this is still a belief that’s practiced in the Cambodian countryside, in the modern cities of Siem Reap and Phnom Penh it’s more thought of as a special occasion dish, brought out for family gatherings.
The photo above is of the bite-sized version of sweet pork belly with boiled eggs that I made for our spread of creative Cambodian canapés for New Year’s Eve. Each piece of unctuous pork belly is topped with half a hard boiled quail egg and a small sprig of coriander.
The single-bite size of this canapé makes this perfect finger food for parties. Because it’s so rich and hearty, it’s actually quite filling, so you really don’t need many of these. I would recommend just 1-2 per person if you’re planning to do a similar spread to the selection that we served.
Sweet Pork Belly with Boiled Eggs Recipe – Traditional Cambodian Dish, Modern Presentation
- 4 pieces coriander roots
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 tsp white peppercorns
- 2 tbsp palm sugar
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 500 grams Pork belly, rind on
- 6 hard boiled eggs
- 1 cup of water
- 1 hand full coriander leaves, to serve
- 1 pinch salt, or to taste
- Grind the garlic, peppercorns and coriander roots in a mortar and pestle.
- In a medium sized pan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the ground ingredients.
- As soon as aromas are released from the mix, add the palm sugar and a little salt. If using liquid palm sugar, add the dark soy. If using palm sugar 'disks' wait until the palm sugar has liquified before adding the dark soy. Then add the light soy. Turn the heat to low.
- Once the palm sugar has completely caramelised, cut the pork belly into 5cm squares and add the pork. Add enough water to cover the pork.
- Cover the pan and cook on low for at least an hour. Top up with water as necessary. When the pork is cooked to your liking (we like it so that you can cut through the pork with a spoon), add the boiled eggs and cook for another 10 minutes.
- As the dish is usually served with several other dishes, plate in a serving dish and sprinkle with the coriander.
Do let us know if you make our Sweet Pork Belly with Boiled Eggs Recipe and whether you opt for the traditional rustic presentation or more contemporary canapé style. We’d love to know how it turns out.