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.
How to make the 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.
Step 1: Make the ‘lean meat’ layer using firm tofu
Firstly, cut a block of extra-firm or firm tofu into thin slices and fry in oil until golden brown and crispy. This will replicate the ‘lean meat’ layer, has a nice soft texture.
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
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 ‘skin’ in the bottom, followed by the coconut ‘fat’, ‘lean meat’, another layer of coconut ‘fat’ and ‘lean meat’.
The 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 30 minutes, then leave it in the fridge overnight or in the freezer for 3-4 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.
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.
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!
Vegan Pork Belly
Pork fat layer (Coconut Tapioca mixture)
- 50 g rice flour
- 60 g tapioca starch
- 100 ml coconut milk
- 100 ml water
Lean meat layer (Tofu)
- 400 g tofu
- oil for frying
Pork skin layer (bread)
- 1 small baguette or cut the baguette into a slice
To make the 'lean meat' layer
- Cut the firm or extra-firm tofu into thin rectangular slices.
- Add oil to a pan, then fry the tofu slices until golden and crispy on both sides.
To make the coconut 'fat' layer
- On a pan on low heat, combine the rice flour, tapioca starch, coconut milk and water.
- Keep mixing the mixture until it forms a thick white paste, that is very similar to pork fat
To make the pork skin layer
- If use a small baguette, split it in half lengthwise. If use a long baguette, cut into a section that can is the same length as your tofu slice.
- Take out some of the crumb (soft inner part) of the bread.
Make the Vegan Pork Belly
- To make the vegan pork belly, layer the 3 layers together: bread 'skin' in the bottom, followed by a thick layer of the coconut 'fat', 'lean meat' tofu, coconut 'fat' and 'lean meat' tofu. The coconut 'fat' in between each layer will help the layers stick together.
- Wrap the vegan pork belly tightly with aluminium foil and steam for 30 minutes.
- Afterwards, chill the vegan pork belly in the fridge overnight or in the freezer for 3-4 hours.
- Cut into thin slices that resemble 'pork belly' slices and fry until golden crispy. Add any sauces you like and enjoy with a bowl of warm rice.