Nam yee is a type of preserved beancurd marinated in red sauce. It’s distinctive flavor works very well with meat especially pork or chicken. There are dishes of nam yee with steamed meat, but I find nam yee and fried meat are the best. Nam yee fried pork belly is another of my family’s all time favorite. It is unhealthy of course so I only make it once in a while, and I always choose ‘lean’ pork belly and trim off as much fat as possible. For those of you who are afraid oil splashing during frying, this is a relatively ‘safe’ frying experience all because the marinate is dry and the pork skin was trimmed off.
Nam Yee Fried Pork Belly Recipe
1.5 lbs of boneless pork belly (I like to use ‘lean’ pork belly because a little fat will make the meat taste juicier. Spareribs have bones and take longer time to cook and meat can be chewy. Lean pork, although cook fast too like pork belly, can be dry and chewy as well)
4-5 cloves of garlic– finely minced
2 1/2 squares of nam yee– smeared
2-3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp chicken essence powder
Tapioca starch for coating– choose the coarse starch and not fine powder type
Oil for frying
- Rinse pork belly with water. Trim off skin and excess fat. First cut the meat into strips then into bite size pieces. Lightly season with salt.
- In a bowl mix minced garlic, smeared nam yee, sugar and chicken essence powder. Adding 1-2 tsp nam yee sauce if the mixture is too dry. Taste the marinate before you add in the meat. A good nam yee will have a hint of sweetness flavor towards the end of the taste, but if your nam yee tastes salty rather than sweet then add a little more of sugar to the marinate.
- Add meat to marinate and mix thoroughly– it will be dry but do not attempt to add any liquid to it. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least a couple of hours or even overnight.
- Heat up oil in a deep pan. Coat the meat with tapioca starch and press the meat so the coat will stay on. Let the meat rest for few minutes until the starch absorbs the moisture from the meat. Shake off extra starch and gently drop into the oil, fry on medium high heat until the meat is cooked and golden. Serve immediately. (For party planning, fry ahead and keep warm on a rack in the oven at low temperature until guests arrive.)