How to Cook Pork Humba (Braised Pork Belly)

by Cynthia Au

Start to Finish: 50 minutes, plus marinating time

Servings: 4

Difficulty: Intermediate

Pork humba, a dish made of braised pork belly, originates from the Philippines. Sweet, savory, sticky and rich, the dish uses the unusual combination of very salty preserved black beans and star anise to flavor pork belly cooked to fork-tender. This recipe, adapted from ones by the CBC and Rasa Malaysia, includes additional ingredients, such as mushrooms and potatoes, to give the dish more substance.

Ingredients

Pork Humba

  • 4 pounds fresh pork belly, skin removed
  • 6 cups water, enough to cover the belly
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cup onions, minced
  • 2-inch piece root of ginger, sliced thin
  • 1/8 cup fermented black beans, smashed
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 2 cups rice wine
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 4 Thai chili peppers
  • 5 whole star anise
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar or palm sugar
  • Salt
  • Water

Accompaniments

  • 2 cups cooked white potatoes, cubed
  • 1 cup cooked shiitake mushrooms, halved
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, quartered
  • 1 1/2 cup banana flowers, shredded
  • Cooked white rice

Directions

Pork Humba

Mix all of the pork humba ingredients, except the water and salt, in a mixing bowl. Salt to taste. The mix needs to be a balance of sweet, salty and sour. Thin with water if the marinade is too paste-like.

Cut the pork belly into 3-inch squares. Rub the pork belly with the marinade, and let it sit, covered, in the fridge, for 4 hours or overnight.

Place the pork belly in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven. Add the marinade to the pot, and add enough water to just cover the pork belly.

Bring the water and the marinade to a rolling boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium-high, keeping the liquid at a gentle simmer.

Cook uncovered until the belly becomes very soft. It may take up to 40 minutes for the belly to become jiggly and fork-tender. Once soft, remove from the liquid.

Reduce the braising liquid by half. Remove the bay leaves. Serve the pork humba on a platter, along with all of the accompaniments except for the cooked rice.

Serve the reduced braising liquid on the side. Eat the pork humba with a choice of the accompaniments, drizzled with the braising liquid.

Tips

  • The accompaniments can also be mixed in with the pork belly and the sauce to make a very rich blend. Serve over the cooked rice with the shredded banana flowers as a garnish.

About the Author

Cynthia Au has studied at the Cordon Bleu in Paris and currently works as a chef instructor specializing in food styling. She has worked as a writer and editor with a focus on food and food science since 2007 and regularly teaches both adults and young children about the joys of home cooking.