This is a Jamie Oliver recipe, recommended to me some years ago by one of my sisters and one that I only got round to making a week ago.
Well! Do I wish I'd tried it sooner?! (The answer's YES).
I've made it three times this week, twice just for me, and once for me and my (other) sister last night. And she loved it as much I as I do!
I've adapted it a bit, mainly due to me not having cresses or Chinese Five Spice (where on earth did I leave it? I remember taking it somewhere ... ).
Oh, and not having six people to feed! And of course, I used rice noodles in place of egg noodles.
The original recipe is HERE if you'd like it.
And here's what I used to make this utterly delicious dish for two.
For the marinade
4 smallish sticks of rhubarb, ends cut off, and chopped into a few large pieces
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1-2 (depending on your taste) bird eye chillies, roughly chopped
A chunk of ginger, roughly thumb-sized, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds *
1 star anise *
2 whole cloves *
1/2 teaspoon black pepper *
(all marked with a * you could replace with a scant teaspoon of Chinese 5-Spice but I haven't tried it!).
a wineglass of water
And the rest of the ingredients
4 pork belly strips, cut into chunks
2 spring onions
1 red chilli
2 layers rice noodles, prepared according to packet instructions
2 halves of a lime, to serve
OK, first the marinade. Put all the marinade ingredients into a blender - and blend until all blended and smooth.
Put the pork cubes into a roasting tray or dish and pour over the sauce and cover with foil, or - as I'm doing - put it all into my trusted, beloved remoska. Jamie's recipe said to cook for 90 minutes, but mine was done after 60 minutes, so do check.
(UPDATE! I MADE THIS AGAIN THE OTHER NIGHT AND IT WAS JUST TOO HARD TO CUT THE SLICES INTO CUBES, SO I JUST COOKED THE SLICES AS THEY WERE AND CUT THEM WHEN COOKED - MUCH EASIER!)
The original recipe says 180°C/350°F/gas 4 so it might take longer.
Yes it's a bit of an initial outlay but you'll rarely ever need to use your oven again - this is so much easier and more efficient.
Anyway, however you're leaving that gorgeous sauce and beautiful pork to cook, leave it to cook and prepare the rest!
Slice a couple of spring onions, chop a small handful of coriander leaves and slice a red chilli (as much as you like - if I'd had a bigger mild chilli it would have been a whole one, but I only had bird eye chillies so used about 1/3) - ready to add all of them right at the end.
Towards the end of the pork cooking time, cook the rice noodles according to pack instructions so they're ready to go - drain and put a lid on to keep them hot.
Remove the pork pieces from the sauce. Heat a wok or frying pan, add a little oil and cook for a few minutes 'until crisp'. I have to say mine didn't actually go 'crisp' but very good it was anyway - I just cooked them a few minutes and drained on kitchen paper.
I left my rhubarb sauce cooking while I fried the pork to thicken it a little more - but look at the sauce and decide if you want to stop the cooking when the pork comes out or give it a little longer if it looks a bit thinner than you were expecting.
Put the noodles into bowls, ladle over the utterly delicious sauce and top with the incredible pork belly pieces.
Add a good sprinkling of spring onions, coriander and chilli - and serve with a wedge of lime to squeeze over.
I'm just glad rhubarb season goes on until about June - as I just want to make this again! Yes, despite having had it three times in one week!