Banh Xeo Bar chef and co-owner Ben Sinfield uses a free-range pig head to make one of the Rosebery eatery’s signature dishes. The meat is packed down and set with stock before cut into squares, dunked in batter and deep-fried until crispy. The nuggets are wrapped in a shiso leaf from Boon Luck Farm and dipped in fish sauce for the ultimate flavour bomb.
• 1 free-range pig head, split down the middle
• Pork stock; enough to half cover head in tray
• 1 onion
• 1 head of garlic
• Dash of fish sauce
• Salt and pepper
• 1 bunch of shiso
• Pickled red onions
• 60ml nuoc cham
• 1 chilli
• Flour, egg and panko breadcrumbs for crumbing.
- Put the head in a pot and cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Once boiled, rinse head in the sink.
- Heat up pork stock until hot.
- Place the head in a tight fitting tray or casserole dish, season with salt and pepper and a dash of fish sauce.
- Cut the onion and garlic into large chunks and scatter around the head.
- Pour over hot pork stock till it covers half of the head. Pop a lid on it and cook in the oven at 150 degrees Celsius for three hours until cheek is giving and tender.
- Take tray out of the oven and leave to cool for around an hour. Put approximately one litre of pork stock on the stove and reduce by half.
- Pick meat and fat off the head. Roughly chop and place in a tray. Slowly add the reduced stock and work it into the meat
until set together. Press down until even and refrigerate overnight.
- Pop out the set meat onto a chopping board and cut into chunks. Dip in separate bowls of flour, egg and breadcrumbs.
- Wash the shiso and put the fish sauce in a ramekin with sliced chilli.
- Fry the nuggets until golden and season with salt.
- Arrange shiso on a plate along with pickles and fish sauce. To eat, place the nugget and pickles in a shiso leaf and dip into the sauce.