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Caramel - recipes by 
Caroline Velik. Pictures by Marina Oliphant. Epicure, The Age. 16 August 

Photo: Marina Oliphant

Inspired by MasterChef contestant Alvin Quah's recipe, the caramel sauce for the pork belly is flavoured by the Chinese master stock.


  • Chinese master stock
  • 6L water
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 knob ginger, sliced
  • 1 handful green onion ends
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 375ml light soy sauce
  • 375ml shaoxing wine (Chinese cooking wine)
  • 75g chinese rock sugar
  • Pork
  • 1 kg pork belly
  • 2 eschalots, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 300g brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • Handful fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 long red chilli, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds


For master stock, place all ingredients in a large stockpot and bring to the boil. Taste stock for balance of flavours and adjust as required. Add pork belly to master stock and gently simmer for one hour. Remove and set aside to cool. Soak eschalots in vinegar.

Heat brown sugar in deep-sided frying pan, stir and cook over medium heat until caramelised. Add one cup master stock, fish sauce and lime juice. Cook over high heat until reduced and thickened. Cut pork belly into slices and add to sauce. Mix together the coriander leaves, eschalots and chilli. Place slices of caramelised pork neatly on a plate, garnish with salad and sprinkle over sesame seeds.

Tip To store master stock, allow it to cool. Strain through a fine sieve and refrigerate until needed. Once cooled, strained and refrigerated, master stock can be used again and again. Replenish the stock with fresh garlic, ginger, green onions and aromatics each time you use it and the flavour will continue to intensify. This stock can also be frozen.

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