This is a "rillette" style paste which differs from liver pate in that it is not a homogeneous paste. The meat fibre can be broken down to any density but because of the nature of the muscle tissue it will never reach that pate smoothness of liver. It is for this reason as well as the wonderful flavour that a paste of this texture is highly enjoyed.

  • 1½ kg pork belly, skin and bones removed. Cut into 2-3cm (1 in) pieces
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
  • ½ tsp 5-Spice
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp fresh Basil Anise leaves
  1. With a small, sharp knife make a cross in the top of firm tomatoes, and remove the little core where the stalk was attached. Scald the tomatoes in a pan of rapidly boiling water for 10-12 seconds and remove with a perforated spoon into cold water. The skins should easily peel away, repeat if not. The tomatoes can then be halved, the seeds removed and the flesh diced  to cook.
  2. Put all the meat, tomato flesh, garlic and spices other than the basil into a heavy-bottomed pan, pour in 150ml of cold water and gently bring the contents of the pan up to a simmer. *Cover with a lid and simmer very gently 3 to 3½ hours. Stir occasionally and add a little more water as the liquid evaporates. The meat is done when it's falling apart. Add the basil for about 5 minutes to extract the flavour.
  3. Strain the contents of the pan and discard the liquid. Allow to cool a little and remove the bay leaves.
  4. With a fork or fingers break up the pieces of meat into shreds; any large remaining pieces of fat can be chopped or homogenised in a blender.
  5. Transfer into a clean bowl, then mix in enough of the strained and homogenised fat to form a  paste. At this stage check the seasoning and adjust if needed.
  6. Serve this on any base you wish with pickled carrot and daikon as a garnish.
  7. Any remaining mixture may be placed into little individual pots, a sterilised Kilner or Clip Top jar or a suitable serving dish. Spoon a little more fat on top, especially if you plan to keep it for some time. Store refrigerated.
*An alternative to the stove top simmering is to use an appropriate heavy based oven pan and allow to cook for the 3 hours in a Preheated oven at 150°C. The evaporation will be less but still check periodically and replenish the water as needed.

This is also a great filling for a Vietnamese baguette sandwich.