Pork belly rice rolls and Pinot Gris


These beautiful fresh spring rolls whizzed up by the talented Unna Burch at The Forest Cantina are pretty as a picture and are totally dinner party-worthy!

Unna rolls them with a thin layer of egg, fresh herbs and edible flowers and fills them with vermicelli noodles, spicy glazed pork belly, lots of herbs and crunchy vegetables. They pair perfectly with this creamy peanut sauce on the side and a cold glass of Jules Taylor Pinot Gris. Pinot Gris pairs beautifully with Asian flavours and spice.

For the pork belly and chilli glaze 

1kg boneless Free Range pork belly
4 large cloves of garlic
1 large shallot
2-4 Thai red chillies
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy
1 tablespoon canola oil

For the dipping sauce

4 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
Sriracha to taste
Juice from 1-2 limes
Water to thin

For the rice rolls

Vermicelli noodles
6 eggs
1 tablespoon oil
Rice paper
Edible flowers
2x carrots, peeled and cut into match sticks
1 cucumber, cut into thin slices (seeds removed)
Bean sprouts
Fresh herbs - I love mint, coriander and Thai basil.


NOTE: The pork belly MUST be boneless so you can slice it. I cook the pork the day before and keep it in the fridge, but it can be made up to two hours before, it just needs time to cool. The pork in this recipe is served cold or at room temp, so it does not need to be hot. Think of it as a 'cold cut' of meat, served as any fresh spring roll is.

Preheat the oven to 140° C (280° F).

Wrap the pork belly very tightly in a double layer of tin foil and bake in the centre of the oven for two hours. Remove, cool to room temperature and put in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight. Once the pork belly is cold, with a sharp knife, cut off the skin layer then cut the pork belly into thin 1/2 cm slices. Set aside for now.

I make the green chilli glaze quickly in my 'magic bullet'. Peel the garlic and shallots, de-stalk the chillies (use less if you want less heat, and remove seeds if you wish) and add to the blender with brown sugar, vinegar, fish sauce and soy sauce. Blitz quickly for a few seconds until well combined. Set aside for now. Note: If you do not have a blender or a small food processor, you will need to chop the garlic, shallots and chillies very finely by hand and then mix them together in a bowl with the remaining ingredients.

Heat a medium-sized saucepan over a high heat, and when hot, pour the glaze in, stirring constantly for about one minute so it caramelizes and just starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and add the slices of pork belly and combine well so the pork is covered in the spicy glaze. Set aside for now, or keep in the fridge until you are ready to roll.

For the dipping sauce, combine all of the ingredients together. Taste and adjust with extra sriracha or lime, Set aside.

For the rice rolls, start by preparing the noodles by soaking them in boiling water. They will soften as they sit - they will need around 10-15 minutes. For the egg element, whisk the eggs in a jug and set aside. Heat a non-stick frying pan on medium-low heat and when hot, add a little oil. Pour in 1/3 of the egg mixture, and swirl the pan in a circular motion often until the egg is set. Cook until the egg is dry to touch on top (i.e. when you touch it, no egg sticks to your finger), then use a spatula to guide the omelette to a board. Cut the sides off so that you have a large square, and then cut into rectangular pieces to fit inside your rice roll. Repeat and set aside.

To roll the rice rolls, I like to have all my ingredients laid out so they are easy to get to. I roll my rice rolls on a damp tea towel to prevent the rice paper from sticking, and I also store them on another damp tea towel once made, making sure they don't touch. Sitting and covering them on a damp tea towel not only stops them from sticking but also keeps them fresh. Perfect if you are making them in advance. Fill a large bowl with warm water and dip the rice paper into the water until it's just starting to feel a little pliable, then lay it flat on the damp tea towel. I start by placing down the edible flowers and a few baby Thai basil leaves, then a slice of egg, noodles next, then some pork, vegetables and herbs. Then fold in the sides of the wrapper, then the bottom of the wrapper over the filling and roll up the entire parcel into a tight cylinder shape. Repeat until you have finished, and serve cold rolls with the spicy peanut dipping sauce.