The first time I tried chicken satay in Thailand, I was blown away. It was infinitely better than the ones I had back at home. They were incredibly juicy and packed with so much flavor. Ever since that experience, I've been hesitant to eat chicken satay again. I know it just won't compare. However, today my cravings took over and I gave in. To avoid disappointment, I decided to make my own and swap out the chicken for pork belly. This pork belly satay is a little different, incorporating peanut butter right into the marinade. The result is a flavor-packed satay! Serve it with a bright vinegar dipping sauce for the perfect pairing.
Pork Belly Satay
- 1 Persian cucumber sliced into ¼-inch thick rounds
- ¼ cup boiling water
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Braised pork belly
- 2 lb pork belly slab
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 inch knob of ginger
- 2 garlic cloves smashed
- 1 Thai chile
- 2 scallions white ends only
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 3 tablespoon peanut butter smooth
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon red curry paste
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 Thai chile chopped
- juice of ½ lime
- 2 tablespoon crushed peanuts for garnish
- 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro for garnish
- Make the pickled cucumbers. Whisk together the boiling water with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Pour the mixture over the sliced cucumbers and let sit for 30 minutes or overnight in the fridge.
- Place the pork belly in a pot and add enough chicken stock or water to cover the pork belly. Add the ginger, garlic, Thai chile, and scallions to the pot and cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer on low for 2 hours or until tender.
- Meanwhile, make the marinade. Combine all of the ingredients for the marinade including the coconut milk, peanut butter, oil, brown sugar, rice vinegar, red curry paste, mustard, and fish sauce until smooth.
- Preheat broiler to high.
- Drain the pork and let cool slightly. Cut the pork into bite-sized chunks and pour the marinade on top, gently tossing to coat all sides. Skewer the pork belly and lay the skewers on a baking sheet. Broil the pork until lightly charred on all sides, about 8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce. Combine the water with rice vinegar, sugar, Thai chile, and lime juice. Set aside.
- Transfer the pork belly satay onto a plate and sprinkle crusted peanuts and cilantro on top. Serve with pickled cucumbers and the dipping sauce.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
When I thought of making pork belly satay, I imagined thick chunks of pork belly that melted away with every bite. I wanted something so tender that it easily fell apart. To achieve this meant that I had to take the extra step and braise the pork belly first.
I used an instant pot to braise the meat but you can also cook it on the stovetop or oven. To prepare the pork in the instant pot, set the pressure cook settings for 45 minutes.
If you're braising the pork in the oven, place all of the items in a Dutch oven, cover the pot, and braise at 325 degrees F for 2 hours or until tender.
While the pork is absorbing that broth and becoming deliciously tender, make the marinade. This is where we incorporate all the flavors.
Combine the coconut milk with smooth peanut butter, brown sugar, red curry paste, mustard, fish sauce, rice vinegar, and oil. If your red curry paste is especially spicy, you can adjust the amount according to your preference.
Once the pork is ready, remove it from the stock and let it cool slightly. It'll be easier to cut the pork belly when it's not piping hot. You can also braise the pork the night before and continue with the recipe the following day.
Since the pork is already cooked, we're just going to broil the pork belly satay until the sauce becomes caramelized. Keep an eye on the skewers since there is sugar in the sauce which can make the pork belly burn.
While the skewers are broiling, prepare the dipping sauce. I'm going to highly recommend making the dipping sauce. The slightly spicy tangy sauce will balance the flavor-packed skewers and bring a refreshing quality to the dish.
You can increase or decrease the number of Thai chilies depending on your preference.
Finish the pork belly satay with crushed peanuts and chopped cilantro. Serve the skewers with pickled cucumbers and the dipping sauce. You can even squeeze some fresh lime juice on there for a hit of acidity.
If you enjoy peanut flavored dishes, you'll like these pork belly satay skewers. The fall-apart tender pork belly with the beautiful caramelized edges is oh so creamy. Dunk the pork in the tangy and bright dipping sauce and chase it with pickled cucumbers for a party in your mouth.
For more pork belly inspiration check out this twice cooked black pepper pork belly!