Garlic chive stir-fry with pork

I cannot take any credit for this delicious recipe, it comes from the brilliant Woks Of Life website. Continue reading

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Sweet and sour pork chops

This recipe isn’t mine. I found it on an excellent website, The Woks of Life. I hope that they don’t mind me sharing it here. It is their original recipe and I really can recommend it. So, here goes;

For marinating the pork chops:

1 1/2 lb. thinly sliced pork chops, cut in half (I used boneless pork loin steaks)
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
pinch of five spice powder (optional)

For the sweet and sour sauce:

2 tablespoons ketchup
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar (can substitute balsamic vinegar)
2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 cup water

To finish the pork chops:

Oil, for frying, plus 1 tablespoon
3 tablespoons ice water
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons cornflour, divided
toasted sesame seeds and chopped scallion

Marinate the pork chops in a mixture of shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and five spice powder (if using). Set aside for at least an hour or overnight. Make the sauce by combining ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, hoisin, maple syrup, sesame oil, and 1/2 cup water. Set aside.

When you’re ready to cook, fill a medium deep pot about halfway with oil. Heat the oil to 375 degrees. In a separate bowl, combine 3 tablespoons ice water, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 tablespoon cornflour. Pour over the marinated pork chops and mix until coated.

Carefully drop a few pork chops at a time into the heated oil and fry in batches for about 3 minutes each batch. Drain on paper towels.

Add a tablespoon of oil to your wok (you can take some from the frying oil), placed over medium heat. Swirl the oil around so it coats the wok.

(Here is where I changed it a bit. I sautéed a chopped onion and a chopped green pepper in the wok before making the sauce. I did this because sweet and sour pork always seems to have onion and green pepper in it in the UK.)

Pour in your sauce mixture and bring it to a simmer.

Mix your last tablespoon of cornflour with a tablespoon of water to form a slurry. Pour the slurry into the simmering sauce and stir until thickened. Add the cooked pork chops and toss them in the sauce. Plate up, and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and chopped scallions.

I served mine with some plain jasmine rice and some steamed pak choi. It was absolutely delicious.

A Chinese feast at home

This post isn’t really about the recipes, more about how you can structure a Chinese meal for a group of people with a variety of dishes.However, all of these dishes are taken from or inspired by Fuchsia Dunlop’s excellent “Every Grain Of Rice“, apart from the spring rolls.

I wouldn’t call it a banquet, because that is far too grand a term but feast seems like a happy compromise. There is a lot of work involved in cooking any Chinese meal that stretches beyond a simple stir-fry with some noodles or rice. One of the most important aspects is the planning. You need to think about what you are going to cook and get all the preparation done before you even consider actually turning the gas or electric on. Because of the nature of many Chinese dishes, there can be a lot of last minute action on the hob, so it is a good idea to have at least one dish that is a slow cooked affair, ideally one you can pop in the oven to finish cooking, and red-braised pork is perfect for this. It just happens to be one of my favourites, too. Continue reading