Realistic and satisfying vegan 'pork belly' using layers of fried tofu, coconut fat and a crispy crust. Perfect to use with flavorful sauces. This is the recipe to impress any vegan skeptics!
How did this Vegan Pork Belly recipe come about?
Pork belly is a very popular ingredient in Asian cuisine, it is used in many dishes like Char Siu, Red Braised Pork. Many people are skeptical about using plants to mimic dishes. Since I don't want to miss out on my cultural foods so I have to learn to make a vegan version of Pork Belly.
This recipe has been adapted from the creations of many Vietnamese food content creators. I was mindblown by how creative and diverse Vietnamese cuisine is. It looks so realistic while being very satisfying with the coconut layer that just melts in your mouth.
Ingredients of this recipe
This recipe uses:
- TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) slices
- Tofu skin / baguette
- Tapioca starch
- Rice flour
- Coconut milk
Where can I find TVP slices?
You can find TVP slices at Asian supermarkets, health stores or online. I recommend you to choose chicken-like TVP slice, such as:
How to make Vegan Pork Belly?
Since pork belly has different layers of lean meat, pork fat, and skin, we are going to recreate each layer individually and then stack them on top of each other. This recipe uses TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) slices to recreate the lean meat layer; a combination of tapioca starch, rice flour, and coconut milk to make the 'fat' layer. And finally, tofu skin is used to make crispy pork skin.
Step 1: Make the 'lean meat' layer using TVP slices
First, soak TVP slices in boiling water for 20 minutes.
Drain and squeeze out excess water from the TVP slices.
Step 2: Make the fat layer
The fat layer is created to have a sticky texture by mixing tapioca starch and rice flour, fatty texture from the creamy coconut milk. The fat layer will be in the middle and helps the layers stick together.
Step 3: Make the crispy skin using a baguette or tofu skin
If using tofu skin: rehydrate a sheet of yuba (tofu skin).
If using baguette: Trust me on this! The baguette works well to replicate the pork skin because it is crispy with a natural golden color. Remove the inside and start layering!
Step 4: Stack each layer of lean meat, fat, and skin on top of each other
The next task is to put the vegan pork belly layers together:
- Bread (or tofu skin) in the bottom
- Coconut 'fat'
- TVP slices
- Another layer of coconut 'fat'
- Another layer of dipped TVP
The final result should look like the picture below:
Step 5: Steam and refrigerate to keep its form
To keep the layers stick together, we first steam it for 25 minutes, then leave it in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
Step 6: Fry until crispy and add flavorful sauces.
After refrigerating, your 'pork belly' is ready to be used. Cut into slices and fry and they are ready to absorb any flavorful marinades. Check out this blog post to make vegan Vietnamese Braised Pork Belly!
Frequently Asked Questions:
You can use firm tofu in place of TVP slices. Pat dry the tofu, and cut into slices then fry until golden brown. Dip the tofu lightly in a mixture of cornstarch and water before sticking to the layers. Note that the texture using tofu won't be as good and sticky as with TVP slices.
The result made with fried tofu:
TVP slices are textured vegetable protein, often used as meat substitutes. They have different sizes and variations, for this recipe I recommend buying a chicken-like variation. You can access them at Asian supermarkets, health stores, or on Amazon.
You can use a slice of baguette instead. Cut the baguette in half and use it in place of yuba (tofu skin).
You can add a Vietnamese sauce as instructed here, or coat with any Asian (cha siur) or BBQ sauce after frying!
How to serve these Vegan Pork Belly?
You can enjoy them using some sauces and enjoy them with rice, such as in my Vegan Vietnamese Braised Pork Belly recipe. In the future, I will share many more vegan pork belly dishes!
If you have tried my recipe, please let me know what you think by leaving me a review on this page or tagging me on Instagram @veggieanh. I would love to see your creations!Print