Spicy, juicy, perfect. I wouldn’t mind making this dish for our Christmas Day meal. The prepping can be done ahead while the actual grilling can be done right on the dining table. But because our tabletop grill is not so large, we’d have to use shorter bamboo skewers.
But never mind my musings about Christmas. These peri-peri pork belly skewers, cooked by my daughter, Alex, on the stovetop grill, are ten inches long. One skewer makes a satisfying appetizer; two, served with rice, is a full meal.
To make this dish, you’ll need three ingredients — peri-peri sauce, cucumber and pork. You’ll also need skewers and a grill.
Peri-peri is a variety of chili in the species Capsicum frutescens. In the English-speaking world, it is also the name of a sauce made with peri-peri chilies originally produced by the Portuguese in its African colonies where the spice grew in abundance.
Bottled peri-peri sauce is available commercially. And you can use that. But, if you want better control over the level of heat and the blend of flavors, it isn’t hard to make peri-peri sauce from scratch. Alex did. The details are in the recipe below.
Once you have your peri-peri sauce, you’ll need the two ingredients that you will skewer. The first is cucumber; the second is fully cooked pork belly.
Japanese cucumbers, narrower and firmer than the more common English cucumber, were used here. They were cut into rings about half an inch thick then tossed with peri-peri sauce.
An uncut slab of pork belly was simmered with salt until tender, cooled, cut into cubes and tossed with peri-peri sauce as well.
The seasoned cucumber and pork were threaded alternatingly with bamboo skewers and laid on a hot grill. During grilling, more peri-peri sauce was brushed on the cucumbers and pork.
Peri-peri pork skewers
- 3 to 4 Japanese cucumbers cut into thick rings
- 800 grams cooked pork cut into 1½-inch cubes
Make the sauce / marinade
- In an oil-free frying pan, dry fry the chilies for a few minutes. Cool then roughly chop, discarding the stems.
- While the chilies cool, peel and grate the garlic, and roughly chop the cilantro.
- Put all the peri-peri sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pour in the olive oil and lemon juice. Process until smooth.
- Place the cucumbers in one bowl and the pork in another.
- Toss the cucumbers with a heaping tablespoon of peri-peri sauce.
- Add two tablespoons of peri-peri sauce to the pork and toss well.
- Thread the pork and cucumber alternatingly with the bamboo skewers.
- Arrange the skewers on a very hot grill at least an inch apart.
- Grill the skewered pork and cucumber, turning ofen and brushing with more peri-peri sauce with every turn, until sufficiently charred to your satisfaction.