If you are thinking that much of what we eat at home is Asian food, or at the very least Asian-influenced food, then you would be absolutely right. My pantry is packed with everything from soy sauce (regular and dark) to sesame oil (Chinese and Korean), oyster sauce and hoisin, Shaoxing wine, rice wine, rice wine vinegar, mirin, fish sauce, coconut milk, various chili pastes (with and without soy) hailing for different Asian countries, plum sauce, sweet chili sauce, and probably a few other items that I can’t recall at the moment.
There are two very good reasons for this. One, the most obvious, that I live in Asia, and am Asian. And two, that I absolutely and unequivocally love Asian food. All Asian food. Yes, all. And although I do love cuisines from other continents as well, none have a hold on my heart the way Asian food does. I’ve said this one too many times that I am sure there is someone (or two or more) out there who desperately wants to shut me up (or whack my head at least). But there it is. I can’t deny it nor stop waxing obsessive about it. Asian food is just this side of criminally awesome. Nothing can match it when it comes to its crazy range of flavors.
The great part...is I think I may be raising two more Asian food lovers as well. My two gremlins are just as happy with their sabaw (Filipino for soup), adobo, and fish steamed with soy and sesame, as they are with fried chicken and spaghetti. Little C in particular has recently discovered the joys of Korean food. And don’t get me started on the excitement when she sees a whole steamed fish (almost at par with mine and C’s…almost).
So you will forgive me for having yet another Asian recipe to share I hope?
Peking Pork Chops
(amended slightly from Rasa Malaysia)
- 250-300 grams pork steak or pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- Oil for frying
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 teaspoon plum sauce
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon chili paste
- 1/4 teaspoon hoisin
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon black vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- A pinch of Chinese Five Spice powder
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
- Pound the pork with a meat mallet to flatten and tenderize. I like to do this in between two sheets of baking parchment for easy clean-up. Set aside.
- In a bowl, whisk together the egg, cornstarch, Shaoxing wine, and salt. Add the pork slices to the mixture and turn everything to make sure all surfaces of the pork are well covered in the marinade. Set aside and let marinate for 30 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients: ketchup, plum sauce, chili paste, hoisin, Worcestershire sauce, black vinegar, sugar, Chinese five spice, and water. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
- Heat a skillet or wok over high heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, add the pork slices in one layer. If they can’t all fit then do this in batches. Fry the pork on one side until golden brown, turn and repeat on the other side. This should take about 5 minutes. Don’t overcook the pork or it will be tough. Set the pork aside and drain on paper towels.
- In the same skillet or wok, wiped down, bring the sauce to a boil and let this bubble for a bit, just a few seconds, and then add the fried pork. Stir until the meat is well coated with the sauce. Remove from the heat and serve sprinkled with the toasted sesame seeds.
This recipe was adapted from Bee of Rasa Malaysia. I love her recipes and her magical way of making all Asian dishes seem easy and within reach, even in my flat’s little kitchen. I have her cookbook as well and last year it was one of my most used ones. Hmmm…do I sense a giveaway here?
Anyway, moving right along, this dish was a success with my Asian-food-loving family…even with the littlest one. I used half a teaspoon of the chili paste (a Thai brand in soya oil that was sweet as well) and that was fine with him. If you have no small mouths to feed though go ahead and add more. Serve this with lots of hot rice and some simple steamed greens and you will have happy campers. I am imagining this would also be great tucked in a soft bun with some pickled chili and kewpie mayo...but that's just me.
Maybe next post I will have something different for us. Maybe something from different lands? Or maybe something sweet? Or maybe we will see another Asian dish? After all, this blog is about home cooking, and there are no rules when it comes to that…which is one of the things I love about it.
So, despite the lure of berries and figs and fresh truffles, of chanterelles and morels and the tempting produce of distant shores…I am totally and blissfully content right where I am. And I hope you are too.