It seems that when I start thinking of foods fit for watching football, I end up with snacks full of Asian flavors (i.e. Adobo Wings). Nachos are a must-have game day food, and as we know them, they’re pretty Americanized. Still, they have their roots in Mexican cuisine. But how ’bout I forget all that and make them Chinese? Consider it done!
I wanted to create a special nacho recipe for you all, since they’re such a classic “super” game snack, but I wanted to make it my own. I’ve been dying to try my hand at cooking pork belly, so I started with that. I kept thinking back to those marvelous kimchi/pork belly fries I enjoyed at Del Seoul, but I didn’t want to replicate that. For this reason, I decided to emulate Chinese flavors in my nacho recipe, rather than Korean. Rasa Malaysia has this great recipe for siu yuk (crispy pork belly) from the fine folks at Eat A Duck I Must. Then I remembered the wonton chips I made with hoisin-glazed salmon last summer. How perfect! It all started coming together after that… how I love the culinary creative process!
I ended up with nachos featuring crunchy baked wonton chips, perfectly crisp pork belly, and a tangy pineapple-ginger salsa. My sister was coming over, so I thought it would be the perfect time to try out my recipe, which so far only existed in my head. The nachos were a smash hit! Everyone loved them, agreeing that they were definitely full of Chinese flavors (a success for me, since I was faced with the challenge of making nachos that didn’t seem “Tex-Mex.”) I am so happy to share the recipe with you, and hope you can enjoy it while cheering on your favorite team this Sunday, or heck, any time you want a fun, one-of-a-kind snack!
Note: To save time, the salsa and wonton chips can be made a day or two ahead of time, and you can marinate the pork belly overnight.
Chinese-Style Pork Belly Nachos
Serves 4-6 people
For pineapple-ginger salsa:
- One pineapple, skinned, cored, and cut into large slabs
- 5-6 red jalapeños, cored and de-seeded
- 1/2 large red onion, cut into rings about 3/4″ thick
- 1 knob of ginger (about 1″ long), peeled
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Salt, to taste
For crispy pork belly (pork belly part of this recipe is adapted from Rasa Malaysia/Eat A Duck I Must):
- 1 lb slab of pork belly, well-rinsed and patted dry
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1 teaspoon 5-spice powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Peanut oil (for frying)
For wonton chips:
- 32 wonton wrappers
- 1/2 cup sesame oil
- 2 egg whites
- 1/3 cup sesame seeds, toasted
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded quesadilla or mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 4 tablespoons black sesame seeds, toasted
- 4 tablespoons white sesame seeds, toasted
- 1/4 cup preserved bamboo shoots in chili oil (optional – found at Asian grocery stores)
1. Make the salsa: Heat a heavy grill pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Grill the pineapple spears until lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer the pineapple to a plate to cool. Add the jalapeños and onion slices to the pan and grill until well-charred, turning when necessary. Remove from heat and let cool. Once cool enough to touch, coarsely chop pineapple, jalapeños and onion.
2. Using metal tongs, dry-toast the ginger over an open flame, such as a burner on a gas stove. Toast until fragrant, about 1 minute. Let the ginger cool slightly, then coarsely chop. Combine pineapple, jalapeños, onion, ginger, and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Mix on a low setting until blended but still slightly chunky. Salt to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use. (Salsa can be made up to 3 days ahead.)
3. Prepare the pork belly: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pork belly, reduce to a low boil, and cook for about 15 minutes. Transfer the pork into a colander and let drain for 15-20 minutes. After draining, pat the pork dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture.
4. Using a sharp knife, pierce the pork a few times. Rub the ginger powder all over the flesh of the pork (avoiding the skin). Repeat with 5-spice powder, white pepper, and salt. Place pork in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge. Let the pork sit for at least an hour to absorb the flavors from the rub.
5. Make the wonton chips: Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a small bowl, blend egg whites and sesame oil until smooth. Lay out wonton wrappers, working in batches if necessary. Lightly brush the top of each wrapper with the egg mixture. Fold each wrapper in half on a diagonal, then brush the newly formed tops with the egg mixture as well. Sprinkle half of the sesame seeds over the wrappers. Flip the wrappers over, brush this side with egg, and sprinkle with the rest of the sesame seeds. Cut each wrapper in half to form little triangles.
6. Arrange triangles on two ungreased baking sheets, taking care not to overlap them. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Transfer wonton chips to a large oven-safe bowl and set aside until ready to use. (Wonton chips can be made a few days ahead of time.)
7. Fry the pork belly: In a large, heavy pot, add about an inch of peanut oil (or just enough to cover the skin of the pork belly, not the entire slab). You can add the pork belly while the oil is still cold since it’s so fatty and will splatter a lot. Cover with a lid or a splatter screen to keep the oil from splashing out of the pot or even worse, onto you! Heat the pot at medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the pork belly, skin side down, for about 5 minutes or until the skin is crispy and golden brown. Carefully turn the pork to one side, frying the flesh side for only 1-2 minutes (any longer and the flesh will get tough). Repeat on all sides. Transfer the pork to a plate lined with paper towels to drain and cool slightly.
8. Assemble the nachos: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Thinly slice the pork belly, and then cut into strips about an inch long and 1/2 inch wide. Take the wonton chips, which should be in a large, oven-safe bowl, and top evenly with shredded cheeses. Then add a layer of pork belly strips. Place the bowl in the oven and bake until the cheese is just melted, about 5 minutes.
9. Make sure the bowl is cool enough to handle. Top with about a cup of salsa, or to taste. Sprinkle the nachos with sliced green onion, sour cream, and toasted sesame seeds. If desired, top with preserved bamboo shoots. Serve immediately to your hungry, sports-loving guests!
Here are some other fun and unique snack ideas for your party:
Takoyaki (Octopus Dumplings)