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Make Thomasina Miers' pork belly tacos with tamarind-chipotle glaze

Take the Wahaca Test Kitchen's Mexican-inspired, signature street food home with this recipe for slow-cooked pork tacos and zingy spiced pickle

Pork belly tacos with tamarind-chipotle glaze; Photograph: Cat Byers

Serves 8

Preparation time 30 mins

Cooking time 2 hours

Ingredients

  • 1.5kg pork belly, skin scored into strips
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 50g molasses sugar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 500ml dry cider
  • 100ml water
  • 3 carrots, cut into 5 cm lengths
  • 2 celery sticks, cut into 5 cm lengths

For the glaze

  • 3 chipotle chillies
  • 
6-7 tamarind pods
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil

  • 1 large onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

  • 1 tsp cloves, ground

  • 2 tsp cumin, ground

  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar

To serve

  • Fresh 'slaw
  • Sliced radishes
  • Tortillas

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 230°C or as high as it can go. Pat the pork skin dry with kitchen paper and season the skin liberally with flaky sea salt. Line a roasting tin with two layers of foil.
  2. Warm the fennel seeds and pepper in a dry frying pan for a few minutes then roughly grind in a pestle and mortar. Add the molasses, oil and half a teaspoon of salt and work into a rough paste. Rub this into the meat, avoiding the skin, working it right into the layers of fat and meat. Place the pork onto the lined roasting tray, on top of the carrots and celery, and pour in the cider and water. Roast for 10-20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 170°C and roast for a further 90 minutes or until the flesh is tender enough to pull apart with forks.
  3. To make the salsa, tear open the chillies, remove the seeds and membrane, and in a hot, dry frying pan toast lightly on both sides over a medium heat for a minute, until just softening and smelling fragrant (be careful, because if chillies burn, they turn bitter). Put the chillies in a small pan, cover with boiling water and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, pod the tamarind seeds and cover with 200ml boiling water, leave for five minutes, then massage the seeds to dissolve their pulp. Push through a sieve to remove the seeds and set aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a small pan and add the onion, garlic and spices. Season and cook for 10 minutes until the onion has softened. Remove the chipotles from their bath, reserving half the water (use gloves to avoid covering your fingers in fiery capsaicin), and finely chop. Add to the onion with a little chilli water (you can add more later if you like it hot). Add the tamarind pulp and the sugar and cook for 15 minutes. Blitz with a stick blender.
  5. Halfway through cooking brush the pork with the glaze and baste once or twice more during the roasting. Once the pork is tender remove from the oven and serve with the glaze as a salsa, with fresh slaw and hot tortillas to make your own tacos.