Monday, 20 October 2014

Crispy chilli pork 'takeaway'

Shorter daylight hours coupled with my new addiction to Orange is the New Black (yes, I'm so late to the game) meant I rushed this post to catch the last bit of sunlight. So much so, that I was up on the roof shooting this just before sundown - so apologies for a rather shoddy photo as it doesnt do this meal justice. This is one of my favourite meals to do - I just wish I knew if this dish had a name. Pork fillet is an underused cut, and I'm not really sure why - it's so easy to use and pretty cheap too. Lean and quick to cook, this was a great excuse to whip up at 5:30 with the sunlight quickly fading. It's a go to dish for me when I've got friends over - a balance of sweet and salt with a hum of chilli lightly tingling your lips. It's slightly reminiscent to a sweet and sour pork shoddy takeaway, but way way better and less sticky and sweet. Cornflour seems to be the chinese cook's best friend - its great to use as a coating for a crispy finish but also a marinade and helps keep meat protected when frying at a high heat. Flexible enough that it's easy to make for one, and just as easy to make for a large group you can change the quantities how you wish. Keep this to flash frying, as its technically cooked twice over - the quicker and hotter your wok, the crispier you can keep the pork for the best texture.

As much as I love takeaways, Chinese takeaways seems to be quite low on my list - it's so hard to find a good one which doesn't obliterate any traditional cooking methods or flavours (lest we not forget the copious amounts of MSG a lot of places use). Just as Americans have admitted to having 'American Chinese' take out as a category of its own, the British are see Chinese takeaways as a bit of a guilty pleasure gorge, with a limited range of what constitutes as good takeaway here. Don't get me wrong, there are the few which go against this (I personally love the Good earth and Dragon palace in earls court), but when I was in my local Sainsbury's I saw a hideous jar of 'Chinese shop chip sauce' which made me feel more than queasy to say the least. This recipe is super quick and super tasty. Time to get your wok on.

Ingredients (serves 2)
1/2 pork fillet
1 egg
1 tbs sesame oil
3 tbs light soy sauce
Pinch of white pepper (optional)
3 tbs oil for shallow frying
5 tbs corn flour
1 white onion
1 yellow pepper
3 spring onions
1 red chilli
1 1/2 tbs sugar

In a bowl, briefly whisk the egg, sesame oil,pepper and 2 tbs of the soy sauce together. Cut up the pork fillet in 1 inch think discs and pour the egg mixture over the top and mix. In a separate bowl, lay out some corn flour and individually coat each piece of pork. 
Heat up your wok and oil - when its hot, cook your pork in batches for a few minutes until crispy on each side. (Make sure the oil is hot, otherwise you'll get a soggy pork fillet soaked with oil). Once cooked, set aside on a sheet of kitchen paper to soak up excess oil. 
Roughly chop the onion and pepper into large chunks and slice your spring onions and chillis (I like to keep the seeds in if the chilli is quite large, but you can take these out if you don't want it too hot). Clean your wok and heat up with a small teaspoon of oil. Add in the onion, spring onion and chilli and move quickly around in the wok. You'll see a nice char to some of the onions, and then add in the yellow peppers after a few minutes. Finally, pop your pork back into the wok and sprinkle over with the sugar and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Mix one final time and serve quickly. I served mine with some hot rice mixed with a raw egg and maggi seasoning (the egg cooks in the heat from the rice if its straight out the cooker).

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