Masterchef winner Brett McGregor cooks a mouth-watering pork belly

In this week’s episode of Taste of a Traveller, Chef Brett McGregor travels to Hong Kong, where he learns how to cook a mouth-watering pork belly with Chilli Caramel and Apple Slaw. On returning to New Zealand, he cooks the dish for a very special guest.

“Fine-dining is always a magnificent experience,” says Brett, “but not all food needs to be complicated to be delicious.”


Main Course

Pork Belly


Chilli Caramel

And Apple Slaw


To begin with, Brett makes a stock. He’s already let it simmer for half an hour, having created it using Shaoxing rice wine, palm sugar, a little bit of cinnamon, some star anise, cardamom pods, Sichuan pepper, cumin, coriander and fennel seeds. Brett then pours his stock over the pork belly, ensuring he doesn’t cover the skin. “I’ve got my oven pre-heated to 180 degrees, and I’m going to cook this for three and a half to four hours.”

“Because this pork is sweet and spicy, I’m going to compliment it with something crunchy, just to bring everything together,” explains Brett. He makes a quick Asian-style dressing by grating about a tablespoon of palm sugar into a bowl, adding some rice wine vinegar, some crushed garlic and some finely diced chilli. “The finer you can dice it, the better it’s going to look,” Brett advises. He adds the juice from a lime, and then finishes with about a tablespoon of fish sauce, whisking it all together until the ingredients are dissolved.

Brett McGregor using Olivado Sesame sauce

While those ingredients are mixing together, Brett takes some finely shredded savoy cabbage, sliced green apple, coriander and Thai basil leaves, and lastly some sliced mint leaves. “I always leave my mint until last,” explains Brett “because it tends to bruise easily.” The Masterchef winner then adds them all together in a bowl before pouring over the dressing. “Get your hands in there and mix it all up nicely. Cover it and place it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, and all those flavours will come together.”

To make the Chilli caramel, Brett takes 500 grams of palm sugar and 500mls of water. “I’m going to bring this up to a rapid boil,” says Brett “and cook it down until an amber colour starts to form around the outside.” Once that starts to happen, then it’s time to add the rest of the ingredients. Brett adds 100mls of Fish Sauce. “It seems like a lot,” he explains,” but it’ll really help with the dish.” Next Brett adds a teaspoon of Olivado Sesame Seed Oil. “I really want another layer of flavour, and this stuff is just beautiful!”

After adding another 100mls of soy sauce, Brett then adds star anise and red chilli. “Fresh red chilli is really important,” he explains “Because not only does it change the colour or your caramel, but also adds that essential spice.” Brett then lets the caramel simmer for a few moments, then turns it off and sets it to the side.

It’s time to take the pork out from earlier, which Brett has let sit in the fridge to chill after cooking, making it nice and firm. He trims of the rough ends, and then gentle slices it into 120 gram portions. “To add a little bit of magic, gently put it into some soy sauce, and roll it over making sure the sauce covers everything.”

Pork Belly in Chilli caramel sauce

Brett then adds a teaspoon of five spice powder to some tapioca flour, and rolls the pork belly in it. He then submerges it in oil and cooks for for a few minutes before setting it on a paper towel to drain off. He then takes the caramel and adds it to a plate, before nestling the pork belly on top. Adding the appleslaw with a sprinkle of fresh chilli and a few sesame seeds and the dish is finally ready.

If you would like to try this mouth-watering pork belly recipe, or any of the meals featured in the Taste of a traveller series, then you’ll need Olivado’s delicious range of products. Take a look at the other Chefs featured on our blog page, and if you’ve any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our friendly and helpful staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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