Adobo Pork Belly Nigiri


One of the most sought-after dishes at the Los Angeles restaurant Spoon & Pork is this bite of pork belly atop sushi rice. Chefs Raymond Yaptinchay and Jay Tugas describe their food as modern Filipino, citing influences from the Philippines and California. Here, well-seasoned sushi rice pairs with salty and spicy pork belly in a complex snack that takes some time to make, but each component can be prepared in advance. The pork belly is crispy on the outside and tender inside, and is topped with crunchy nori and furikake for even more texture and flavor. A dot of sriracha sauce adds acidity and heat to cut through the fatty pork, while the chives lend a pop of freshness.

Pork Belly Nigri
Photo: Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Thom Driver
Active Time:
1 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs 30 mins


Pork Belly

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder

  • 1 tablespoon black pepper

  • 2 pounds skinless pork belly

Adobo Glaze

  • 2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil (such as canola oil)

  • ¼ cup minced garlic (from 4 large garlic cloves)

  • 1 tablespoon black pepper

  • 2 dried bay leaves

  • ¼ cup raw coconut vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons water, divided

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

Sushi Rice

  • 1 ½ cups uncooked short-grain white sushi rice

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, plus more for rinsing rice

  • ¼ cup rice vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

Additional Ingredients

  • 3 nori (dried seaweed) sheets, cut into 18 (2- x 1-inch) pieces

  • ¼ cup furikake

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

  • 2 teaspoons sriracha chile sauce


Prepare the Pork Belly:

  1. Stir together salt, garlic powder, and pepper in a small bowl. Place pork on a baking sheet, and rub salt mixture evenly over pork; set aside, uncovered, at room temperature for 1 hour.

  2. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil; set a wire rack inside prepared baking sheet. Place pork on wire rack, and cover with foil. Roast in preheated oven until pork is tender and a thermometer inserted into thickest portion of pork registers at least 145°F, about 2 hours, 30 minutes. Remove pork from oven, and remove foil; let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a clean rimmed baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap, and place another baking sheet on top. Place a heavy object on top of baking sheet, and place in refrigerator; let cool completely, about 1 hour. (Pork Belly can chill, wrapped, in refrigerator up to 3 days.)

While Pork Belly cooks, prepare the Adobo Glaze:

  1. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium. Add garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in pepper and bay leaves, and cook for 30 seconds. Add coconut vinegar, soy sauce, and 1 cup of the water; bring to a boil over high, stirring occasionally. Boil, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; remove and discard bay leaves. Whisk together cornstarch and remaining 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Bring glaze in pan to a boil over high; whisk in cornstarch slurry, and boil, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute. (Adobo Glaze can be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 3 days.)

Prepare the Sushi Rice:

  1. Place rice in a fine mesh strainer; rinse under water until water runs clear. Drain. Place rice and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high. Cover; reduce heat to low, and simmer, undisturbed, 10 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand, covered, for 20 minutes.

  2. Transfer rice to a large bowl; add rice vinegar, sugar, and salt, gently tossing to combine. Line a small rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place rice mixture on baking sheet. Using wet hands, press rice mixture into a 6-inch square (about 3/4-inch thick). Let cool completely, about 15 minutes. Cut Sushi Rice evenly into 18 (2- x 1-inch) pieces.

  3. Cut cooled Pork Belly into 18 (2- x 1- x 1/2-inch) pieces.

  4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Working in 3 batches, add Pork Belly to skillet, and cook until light brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove Pork Belly from skillet, and transfer to a baking sheet. Brush evenly with Adobo Glaze; place each piece of Pork Belly on top of 1 [KS3] piece of nori. Place each Pork Belly-topped nori on 1 section of rice. Sprinkle evenly with furikake and chives; top with sriracha.

Related Articles