16.2.11

griddled honey yellow bean pork

I'm not sure why, but I've noticed that I get easily bored with food. As much as I might like a certain recipe,  after 6 months of regularly making it - it no longer satisfies me.
So just as I was getting disheartened with our regular menu choices, the gastro-salvation came in form of Chinese cuisine.

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I've always loved the idea of making stir-frys, healthy quick meals with lots of vitamins and fibre etc, but so far I have never stuck to it. First of all, my recipes did not taste authentic, which I assumed was due to my not using monosodium glutamate. Then, all the sauces tasted the same - basically one had a choice between white sauce, oyster-style sauce, black bean sauce and incrediby fattening (and also my favourite) - satay sauce.
All that left me disinterested beyond occasionally ordering a nice Chinese takeaway.

And then I discovered an awesome new program called "Chinese Food in Minutes".
Basically, a really sweet Chinese girl called Ching cooks authentic Chinese meals, and even watching the programme you can tell that it will taste amazing.
Not only are the ingredients very simple, but the meals are unusual compared to your regular takeaway menu in a sense that they all sound really different and exciting.
And there is one more thing - Shaohsing wine or Chinese cooking wine. She puts it into everything, and I realised that I never had a recipe with it, so I had to try.
Suffice it to say that after I made my first recipe I was amazed. That taste you get in authentic Chinese food, it's not msg, it is Shaohsing wine! It is difficult to describe just how delicious that meal was, simply, too delicious for words. Better than any restaurant Chinese meal I've had, and I've eaten in some pretty awesome restaurants.
The food is low fat, full of veg with just a little meat, and even though Ching cooks it in half the time (I am not well practiced in making these meals so it took me good 30 minutes and I nearly cried in the kitchen twice, but I was really tired when I did it and I can see that next time it will be much easier) this meal is more that worth it.
I have many of her recipes, I am itching to try them all, so you can expect many to come soon (next project - Crispy Mongolian lamb, mmmmmm).

But for now, this was my first try and it was absolutely foolproof if you can get authentic ingredients (and you can, from any major supermarket).


Ingredients

350g pork fillet or 2 pork chops
1 tbs groundnut (peanut) oil
2 garlic cloves
1 red chilli
200 g pak choy
salt
1 spring onion
rice or noodles

for the marinade
3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp fresh ginger
2 tbs yellow bean sauce
2 tbs runny honey
2 tbs light soy sauce
2 tbsp Shaohsing wine
1/2 tbs dark soy sauce
2 tbs groundnut oil
1 tbs brown muscovado sugar (this was an error, she had 1 tsp and I made a mistake, put too much in, but it tasted divine so try it either way and see which you like better)

Preparation:

I used 2 pork chops on the bone. You will prepare and cook it whole and serve it trimmed off fat and bone and thinly sliced.

Preheat the oven to 200 C

So, first make marinade - finely grate ginger, chop garlic and mix with yellow bean sauce, soy sauces, honey, Shaohsing wine, oil and sugar. Immerse the pork in the mixture and marinade for 20 minutes.
When you are done marinading, quickly sear the pork in a wok or non-stick frying pan, 2 minutes on each side. Keep the marinade as you will need it later.
When the pork is seared, place it on a tray and cook in the oven for further 12 minutes. When done, remove from oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing it.

To make stir-fry, heat the wok until very hot.
In the mean time, separate leaves and stems of pak choy. Slice the stems and leave leaves whole.

Place a little groundnut oil and when it starts to smoke, add chopped chilli (I deseeded half, left seeds in the other half and it had perfect amount of heat) and garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add pak choy stems, toss and pour a splash of water to help it steam. After 1 minute, add pak choy leaves, cook for another minute and season with salt.

Take leftover marinade and juices that ran out of pork as it was cooking, and heat through on the stove until hot.

Take thin Chinese egg noodles and pour over some boiling water and let it cook for a few minutes until al dente. Alternatively, you can cook some jasmine rice to go with it (my rule is - for every cup of any white rice, and it can be any cup you choose, you'll need 1 3/4 cup water. Cook covered on high heat until it boils, then turn the heat right to a minimum and leave covered for some 15 - 20 minutes. You will always end up with perfectly cooked rice, no excess water at all).

To serve, drain the noodles and toss with a tiny splash of toasted sesame oil. Put on a plate. On top of it place the pak choy. Remove bone and fat from pork and slice it as thinly as you can. Over it, pour hot marinade sauce and garnish with sliced spring onion.

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Bon appétit!

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