Pulled pork

I can’t believe it’s nearly a month since my last post!……actually it is quite believable considering my blogging track record. But I have bountiful excuses. I had so much going on. I was sick, went to the snow, got sick again and then decided to move onto my other hobby of painting. Of course there was work and being lazy as well…

I’m still recovering from my second cold and I blame the lethargic symptoms for influencing my decision making. This was evidenced over the weekend when I agreed to help do some cooking for around 60 people. To make matters more complicated, I suggested we could go with something simple like pulled pork. Whilst making pulled pork for one or two people might be easy, I was quick to learn that it’s not fun pulling apart 10 to 11 kilos of pork.

Despite my sore hands I can see why it’s so popular. The tender, smoky and saucy strips go so well with a bit of salsa or crunchy slaw.

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Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 kg of pork neck or pork shoulder
  • 2 heaped tbsp of sweet or smoked paprika
  • 2 heaped tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • Almost 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup oil.
  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • Good quality bbq sauce
  1. Mix together all the ingredients except pork, onion and chicken stock. It should look like a slurry. If it is too gritty, add in a bit more oil to loosen up the mixture.
  2. Massage the mixture into the pork making sure you get into all the crevices. Marinate at least overnight. If the pork is too big, cut it into smaller chunks. A chunk slightly bigger than your fist should be fine. This would help lessen the cooking time.
  3. Preheat oven to 130 degrees celcius for fan forced. Layer onions on bottom of baking tray. Place pork on top. This will prevent the bottom of the pork from burning
  4. Pour in chicken stock around pork and cover with aluminium foil. Place into oven.
  5. Bake for 2hrs. Flip the pork and bake for another hour uncovered.
  6. The meat should be soft to poke through and should yield if you try to tear with a fork. If it isn’t soft enough cover and bake for longer.
  7. Take out and rest the meat covered for half an hour.
  8. After resting, start shredding or pulling the pork apart. You can use two forks to do this or go with your hands.
  9. If you are serving the pork that day, mix through some bbq sauce until the pulled pork is moist but not overly wet.
  10. Place into oven for 5 min to warm through and serve in whatever way you want.

Optional steps

  1. If you are serving the pork the next day, you can place the remaining cooking liquid into the fridge for the fat to set.
  2. Scoop off the top layer of fat and heat up the liquid on the stove on medium heat
  3. Add in cider vinegar if you have it and some more sugar/salt to taste. You can add the vinegar a little at a time to adjust to your tasting.
  4. Let the liquid reduce until it thickens slightly.
  5. Add the liquid to the pulled pork until it is moist and not overly wet. Serve and enjoy!

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Pork and Eggplant stirfry

I realised that I haven’t blogged in a while… I’ve been caught up with working and just being tired in general so cooking hasn’t been something I’ve looked forward to. Another reason is that I don’t feel like I’ve made anything “blog worthy” enough. But then I guess simple everyday dishes can definitely be delicious as well. The highlight of this recipe is definitely the flavoursome nubbins of fried pork mince which go so well with a bowl of plain rice. I know there are other versions which are a bit more saucier but I prefer this drier version as wet stew-like egg plants aren’t really my thing…

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Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 500gm Mince pork (a bit of fat is good.. flavour wise)
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 Japanese eggplants segmented at random angles
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 or more birds eye chillis seeds removed if you like it more restrained
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp shaoxing wine
  • 0.5-1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 0.5-1 tbsp soy sauce (normal soy)
  • 0.5-1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Steps

  1. Mix 1 tbsp of salt with egg plant pieces and let sit for half an hour.. after the bitter brownish juices have been released, wash thoroughly under running water. Pat dry.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a wok on high heat. Wait until it is very very hot.
  3. Add in garlic and minced pork and let fry for around 6 minutes. Whilst it is frying, using the end of the spatula, break up the pork into very small pieces. Don’t stir too much though as that would make it stew… just mix minimally. After it is browned dish out.
  4. Add in the rest of the oil and heat until hot. Add in chillis and eggplant. Don’t stir it too much just toss lightly now and then. After around 1-2 minutes, add in chicken stock and cover to let steam.
  5. When the liquid has just about evaporated add in the meat again and stir fry let the pork caramelise just a bit further.
  6. Add the wine and let evaporate
  7. Add in the normal soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and dark soy sauce. Mix around making sure the pork and eggplant are coated. Continue frying for a bit longer ~1 min
  8. Add in salt and pepper to taste.
  9. When you are just about done, add in the sesame oil and stir through.
  10. Dish out and enjoy!

A simple dish and better yet to finish with some humble basic carrot watercress and pork soup. Perfect for this rainy suddenly Autumn weather.

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Pork ragu pappardelle

I was deciding whether to post this meal up since most of the ingredients were ‘packaged’ supermarket stuff but it tasted delicious so here it is. Besides I took the photos already and it felt like a waste if I didn’t put them up haha. (Note: my photos are still kind of crap, maybe its because I use my phone camera lol. But my friend suggested using some foil to do some reflecting. Don’t know if it did anything substantial but it kind of looks lighter.)

ImageEven though it sounds kind of fancy, the dish is really easy to whip up. its basically the same as making bolognese which I’m sure most people already know how to make. In fact, according to the internet (wikipedia), bolognese is a ragu.

For this dish, I sauteed some onion and garlic then added the pork mince, dried herbs, a can of tomatoes and some run of the mill sauce from the jar (it wasn’t really necessary though). I picked up a tip from Heston where you put in a star anise when cooking the onion, apparently it accentuates the meaty aroma of the dish.

After adding some pepper, salt, sugar and a little water I simmered it for around 45 min. During the last 10 min, I boiled some salted water, chucked in some San Remo fresh pappardelle and chopped up some parsley. So easy yet deliciously filling. However, next time I would like to try making my own pasta when I get a machine…they are so expensive though. I once tried making my own pasta using a rolling pin and failed miserably…mmm boiled strips of rubber.

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Beijing style pork neck

There’s something about crispy batter soaked in sauce that really satisfies. And I’m not the only one that is attracted to this combination.. the popularity of korean fried chicken in Sydney and the staple buffalo wings in the states is testament to this crisyp, starchy, flavoursome deliciousness.

If you go to any cantonese style restaurant, you will likely come across this dish. They either call it peking/beijing pork chop/strips or ging do gwuk in Chinese. I’m not sure whether the sauce coating the pork is the authentic one from Beijing but it is addictive with a slight tangy-ness and full on umami flavour. Although you can have it at the restaurants, why not try making it at home. In fact most of the ingredients are probably in your pantry right now. Here’s what it looks like

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Although I just cut mine into flat chunks you can slice the pork into strips to help it cook faster. If you can be bothered (I could not), some people serve it on top of a bed of deep fried thin rice noodles.

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The batter worked out really well this time. I actually ran out of self raising flour, which i normally use, but instead used plain flour with a pinch of baking soda and baking powder. Here’s the recipe

Recipe

Ingredients

  • Around 500 gm pork neck or loin or any part of pork that won’t be tough if fried for a short time
  • 1 handful + a bit more of plain flour
  • 1 medium not too large but not too small pinch of baking soda and the same amount of baking powder
  • 1 tbsp of oil but you may need a bit more, it really depends… don’t you love how detailed this recipe is
  • Around 1-2 tbsp of water
  • 2-3 tbsp corn flour
  • Oil for frying, enough to reach 1cm of pan/pot

For the sauce

  • 1.5 tbsp of tomato sauce
  • Just a bit less than 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • A dash of chicken powder (knorr brand or similar)/ or you can use half a cup of chicken stock instead
  • Around half a cup of water if you are not using chicken stock
  • A dash of pepper
  • 2 tsp of soy sauce
  • Around half a tbsp of sugar
  • A dash of Shaoxing wine
  • Salt if needed
  • dash of vinegar (can be white vinegar or some chinese brand vinegar if you have it) around 1 tsp
  • 1 tsp of sesame oil

Steps

  1. To make the batter, mix the plain flour, baking soda and powder well. Then add in the oil to make a thick paste
  2. Add in water enough to make it into a cake batter like consistency. Not runny but slightly thicker than lava consistency.
  3. Add in sliced pork and make sure every piece is covered
  4. Heat oil in pan/pot on medium-high heat until oil is heated up
  5. Coat each piece of pork in cornflour then slowly place into hot oil. You may need to turn down the heat depending on whether it is frying too fast or things are getting out of hand
  6. Fry for around 4-5 min for each piece turning now and then until you get a deep browning. Really depends on size of the pork. Maybe test one to make sure its cooked through. Don’t cook it until it is too dry though. A little little tinge of pink may be alright
  7. Take out and place on paper towel
  8. To make the sauce, mix all the ingredients and pour into work/pot on low to medium heat
  9. When it comes to the boil, taste and see whether you need to add any vinegar or sugar or salt. Adjust and taste. Adjust and taste
  10. If the sauce is tooo liquidy, then mix a little bit (around 1 tsp) of corn flour and 1 tbsp of water and pour into sauce to thicken it up. Taste again
  11. Once you are satisfied with the flavour then add in the pork and toss, coating each piece.
  12. Serve with rice and enjoy!