Udon noodle and pork-belly soup

U is for Udon and slow-roasted pork belly soup

After the last few weeks of splurging (is that a real word? well…over indulging in any case) I attempted a healthier tack this week, hence the asian themed food, which, by default is usually a low-fat starting point for supper. I say attempted, as I decided the keep the fat on the pork belly so that I could get some crispy skin…well it is the tastiest part after all!

If you’re more restrained than me, you can always cut away the fat from the pork belly before you start….or not, it’s up to you. This dish is deeply warming and delicious either way, with layers of flavour and surprisingly filling.

The slow-roast pork belly can be prepared earlier (even the day before and kept wrapped up in the fridge) to be re-heated in the oven before you assemble the soup.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 3 hours for the pork + 15 minutes for the soup itself


For the slow roast pork belly

  • 700g joint of pork belly (I use about 175g per serving of soup)
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 3 spring onions
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp dried crushed chillies
  • 1 inch of ginger, cut into fine sticks
  • 120ml low-salt soy sauce
  • 600ml water

For the udon noodle soup

  • 1 packet of udon noodles (inside the packet they are separated into individual portions)
  • 1 portion of slow roasted pork belly (as per the below recipe)
  • liquid reserved from slow roasted pork belly
  • 600ml chicken stock
  • 2 medium carrots – cut into fine match sticks
  • 1 red pepper – cut into fine match sticks
  • 1 handful green beans (optional)
  • 2 spring onions
  • handful of fresh coriander – chopped.


For the slow roast pork belly

  1. Pre-heat the over to 200°C
  2. Drizzle a little sesame oil in a frying pan, then over a medium heat brown the pork joint on all sides to seal in the flavour. I leave the skin side down for an extra minute to ensure it goes as crispy as possible without letting it burn.
  3. Whilst you’re browning the joint, put all the other ingredients for the pork belly in a bowl and mix together.
  4. Once browned, transfer the meat to a baking dish and pour the marinade over the top. Put in the oven for 20-25 minutes to allow the skin to crisp up even more. Then turn the temperature down to 150°C, cover the dish with tin foil and allow to cook slowly for another 2½ hours.
  5. After cooking, the meat should have taken on some of the flavours of the marinade and be really tender and ready to eat (but not yet). Remove the meat from the marinade, wrapping in tin foil and keeping both for the soup below.

Slow roast pork belly in marinade


(cooking enough pork belly for 2)

For the udon noodle soup

  1. This soup is more of an assembly job. Start by boiling the Udon noodles in boiling water for 7-8 minutes. Whilst you’re doing this, pour the left over pork marinade in a saucepan with the chicken stock and boil on a high heat until slightly reduced, adding the carrots, peppers, spring onions and green beans if using for the last 2 minutes of cooking.
  2. Drain the Udon once cooked, and transfer to a soup bowl. Pour over the liquid and vegetables, and cut the pork belly into ½cm slices and add to the bowl. Garnish with fresh coriander and you’re ready to serve.

You can also soft boil an egg and add this now as is traditional in many asian soups, but having had enough protein today I decided to leave the egg out this time.

Udon noodles


Udon noodle and pork-belly soup

Scotch bonnet chilis

J is for Jamaican corn and sweet potato soup


Jamaican corn and sweet potato soup - ingredients

So I admit that there’s only a small ingredient in this recipe beginning with J (Jerk sauce). However the recipe this week is particularly appealing for several reasons: it’s hearty and warming, requires minimal effort AND there is only one pan for washing up. You can’t ask for better than that. It’s also vegetarian friendly.

Scotch bonnet chilis Yellow split lentils Sweet potatoes - chopped

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 Scotch Bonnet chilli
  • 125g yellow split peas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsp chopped thyme, plus extra to sprinkle (dried will suffice if thats all you have in).
  • 800ml vegetable stock
  • 260g sweetcorn
  • 1 can (160ml) coconut cream
  • 400g sweet potato, scrubbed and cut into 1cm diced pieces
  • 2 tsp  Jerk paste


  1. In a large saucepan gently fry the chopped onion for 5 minutes or so to soften. Add a pinch of salt to reduce the chances of it burning. Add the chopped garlic and fry for 2 minutes.
  2. Make a slit in the chilli (to allow some of the heat and flavour to escape) and add to the pan with the split peas, thyme and stock. Be careful to wash your hands after handling the Scotch Bonnet – it’s hot!
  3. Bring the pan to a simmer, cover and cook very gently for 35 minutes or until the peas are very tender (you should be able to mash them against the side of the pan).
  4. Lift out the chilli and discard. Blend the soup using a stick blender or in a food processor until smooth.
  5. Reserve 2 tbsp of the coconut cream and then add the rest to the pan with the sweetcorn, sweet potato and jerk paste. Cook over a low-medium, covered with a lid, for a further 20 minutes until the sweet potato is tender.
  6. To serve, ladle into bowls, drizzle with the reserved coconut and scatter with extra thyme.

Jamaican corn and sweet potato soup


Jamaican corn and sweet potato soup