Red curry with crispy pork belly + noodles

I love pork belly and have it often in a really spicy sour salad, or in this lovely soft noodle dish.

And today I thought I'd make a red curry with it ... I didn't actually mean to have this with noodles, but I'd somehow - outrageously somehow - run out of rice!

I didn't even know that was a THING, to not have rice just always there in the cupboard!


Cook the pork belly first (as much as you like - I had two slices per person) as that will take longest.

I drizzle my pork belly slices with a little light soy sauce and then cook until crispy and gorgeous - it usually takes longer than I think, anywhere from 40 - 60 minutes - and I turn them every 15 minutes or so. 

Once cooked, remove from heat and cut into chunks. I also remove some of the fat at this point as I just don't want it all, but that's just personal preference and entirely up to you. 

For a crispy pork belly Thai red curry for two, you'll also need:

rice or noodles, so cook the rice so it's ready to go, or prepare the noodles according to pack instructions

cooking oil (I use a spray oil)

a good dessertspoon of good red curry paste

1/2 - 1 tin coconut milk (I really do think full fat is better than 'light' versions)

whatever vegetables you choose, or happen to have! I had broccoli and asparagus - and I do like adding a few halved cherry tomatoes to this too

1 tsp sugar

a slosh of fish sauce

the juice of a lime

Thai sweet basil leaves if you can get them (don't use Mediterranean basil, it's totally different)

a few slices of red chilli to garnish, if liked

Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry

OK, so we've got our pork belly cooked and chopped, and our rice keeping warm in a pan with a lid on it, or - like me - soaked noodles ready to add at the end.

Next, just put a non-stick frying pan over a heat, add a few sprays of cooking oil, and then go in with the red curry paste.

Stir this just for a few seconds really, enough to start releasing the fragrance, and then pour in the coconut milk (how much is how thin or creamy you like the consistency - personally I go for half a tin for two).

When it comes to a simmer, throw in the vegetables and simmer for five or six minutes.

Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry

Then add the pork belly pieces and the noodles (if using), stir to combine well and add the sugar, a good slosh of fish sauce and squeeze in the lime juice.

Cook for another minute and then remove from heat, stirring in the Thai basil if you have it.

Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry

It would have looked nicer with the green basil, so I tried to pretty mine up a bit with a couple of slices of red chilli.

That didn't really work but what this lacks in prettiness it certainly makes up for in the most comforting deliciousness and combination of textures and flavours!


Jamie's hot + sour rhubarb and crispy pork with noodles

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

coriander leaves

1 red chilli

cooking oil

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.

Rachel Redlaw Jamie Oliver rhubarb, pork and noodles
Rachel Redlaw Jamie Oliver rhubarb pork and noodles

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.

Rachel Redlaw Jamie Oliver rhubarb pork and noodles


The original recipe says 180°C/350°F/gas 4 so it might take longer.

There are no temperature options with a remoska - as with an AGA - and I love cooking using both. I've had my remoska for over a decade and highly, highly recommend it.

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!

Rachel Redlaw Jamie Oliver rhubarb pork and noodles
Rachel Redlaw Jamie Oliver rhubarb pork and noodles

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. 

Rachel Redlaw Jamie's pork rhubarb noodles

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!



Thai-style pork ribs

I made these this week (for the first time) for a Tiniest Thai supperclub and they were really very good and, as importantly for me, very easy too.

And I was absolutely delighted when one guest instagrammed them with this description:

Rachel Redlaw Tiniest Thai Thai-style pork ribs
Tender, juicy and full of sweet, sticky, salty, zesty, spicy fresh flavours
— Lucy B

The ribs need time, more than effort - and will need marinading from the night before.  I'd wanted to make ribs for some time but couldn't quite get a recipe that I liked - I googled and googled and read so many but they just didn't even read as if they had the flavours I was looking for.  

Eventually I came across a recipe on BBC Good Food and have based mine on that. 

You'll need ...

(and I can't tell you how many this feeds as I made it in the week as a starter course as part of a bigger menu for four and am making it today as a light lunch for three with rice.  So it entirely depends on what else you're having and how hungry you are).

Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs

around 500g / half a rack of pork ribs (mine were frozen, so I cut them into individual ribs at home when they had defrosted, but you could ask your butcher to do this.  I'd also wanted them halved into shorter pieces but even with this big cleaver I only managed to cut down around half of them so that's another job to ask the butcher to help with if you want them short too)

For the marinade:

3 birds eye chillies, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

small bunch of coriander (keep a small handful of leaves to garnish) - if liked.  If you don't like coriander, just leave it out, or try a handful of parsley instead

a small piece of ginger, chopped

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons fish sauce

4 tablespoons soft brown sugar

For the sauce:

100g or around half a mug of white sugar

around 125ml or a small wine glass of water

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

1 red birds eye chilli, finely chopped

1 scant tablespoon fish sauce

the juice of 1/2-1 limes

Put all the ingredients for the marinade into a food processor and whizz up until it makes a rough paste.  Tip into a bowl and add the ribs, rubbing to coat them all the marinade. Put in the fridge overnight. 

Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs
Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs
Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs
Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs

Then make the sauce.  Put the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring very slowly to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes. 

Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs

Remove from heat and stir in the garlic, chilli, fish sauce and squeeze in half a lime.  Then taste! Limes vary a lot in juiciness so you'll just have to taste and decide if it needs more.  To be honest, I nearly always think things need more lime, so I just squeezed in a whole one!

Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs
Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs

Cool then keep in the fridge overnight too.

When you come to cook the ribs the next day, pre-heat the oven to warm so Gas 3 / 160C and tip the ribs and the marinade onto a baking tray.  

Cover loosely with foil and put in the oven for an hour.

Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs
Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs

Turn up the temperature to Gas 6 / 200C, remove the foil, turn the ribs and cook for another 20-30 mins, until the meat just easily pulls away from the bone and they are brown and sticky.  If they need browning and stickying up, switch the grill on instead of the oven and keep them under there for a few minutes - watching all the time as they will easily catch and burn.

Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs
Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs

Put out onto a plate, drizzle over a little of the sauce and then serve with rice and with more of the sauce if liked (it soaks into the rice beautifully, but if you're not having rice you probably don't need it).  

Some stir fried green vegetables would have been nice, or a spicy salad ... but today it's just ribs 'n' rice.

Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs
Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs
Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs

Oh and my top tip.  Put the baking tray in to soak immediately.  I completely forgot the other night and left it in the oven for two days - and it was then a much harder job to get clean!

Let me know what you think of the ribs.