Crispy puffed pork skin is almost a global snack. In asia most countries prepare this food and its generally purchased rather than home-made. The product is commonly eaten as a snack or accompanying alcoholic beverages. It is also used as an ingredient in many dishes and a garnish for many more, generally in a crushed or semi-crushed form.




Ingredients:
  • A sheet of pork-belly with the meat layers removed but a layer of fat still attached to the skin.
  • Rock salt
  • Lard or vegetable oil for cooking the pork skin.
  • Sharp shaving blade or a blow-torch to remove all the hair from the skin.
Method:
  1. Either shave the hair off with a very sharp knife, or burn it off with a torch.
  2. Clean, rinse and thoroughly dry the hairless pork skin.
  3. On a baking tray large enough to take the piece of skin laid out flat, spread a layer of the coarse salt. Then overlay this with the internal belly surface in contact with the salt.
  4. Cover the external, upper layer with another salt layer.
  5. Cover the tray completely and access it daily to pour off any liquid that accumulates. This is done each day for five (5) days. The pork skin is now cured.
  6. Soak the pork in water for 4 to 8 hours. This is a method to bloat the fat cells with water. The swollen cells are the essence of the puffed skin after the final cooking.
  7. The next step is to process the pork belly by confit cooking or preserving the food in oil by slowly cooking it in a bath of oil.
  8. Fill a skillet full of fat, pork duck or chicken and these would be in the order of producing the most delicious pork skin. Vegetable oil is probably the fat that most would have access to and this works. If you are reading this well ahead of time it really is worth your while in accumulating the fats as suggested.
  9. Place the belly in a pan with the fat or oil. make sure that it's completely covered with the fat and heat the content to 120ºC (250 F). It is worth using a confectionary or deep frying thermometer to monitor this.
  10. This cooking will take two (2) hours after which the pork belly will be very friable and easily torn. The pork belly after this confit treatment is considered preserved and can be stored in vegetable oil for one week. It will be stable in rendered animal fat for a few months.
  11. To prepare the skin for eating you cut off an amount required and generally then cut it into edible or useable strips.
  12. Transfer it to a baking sheet and place at 180ºC (350 F) for approx 5 to 10 minutes until it transforms into the wanted crispy puffed pork skin.
Notes:
The extra fat layers can also be treated similarly. They just don't have the outer skin layer but still have a considerable amount of product and with the great taste of the crispy skin. In Thailand this next level is significantly cheaper than the prime product possibly half the price.It is generally the product that you see in the night market stalls of Chiang Mai.

Beef belly can be treated similarly but isn't as popular as the pork.
A third type is chicken skin which isn't cured as such just simply low temp cooked to produce a crispy skin. This can be served as a snack or as part of a meal in combination with other ingredients and dishes.