Peking Pork Chops (Jing Du Pork/京都排骨) for Lunar New Year

恭禧發財! Chúc mừng năm mới! 새해 복 많이 받으세요! Happy Lunar New Year!  This time of year always brings family and friends together, hoping for a prosperous new year, and practicing age old traditions.  Everyone usually comes together at the dinner table, talking nonstop about each and everything, surrounded by foods and drinks that stands for different meanings in life.  I’ll list down some common ones in the Chinese culture:

Tangerine (橘; jú) – luck
Vegetable, green (绿叶菜; lǜyècài) – close family ties
Pork (猪肉; zhūròu) – strength, wealth, abundant blessing
Lotus seeds (蓮子; lián zĭ) – a full wallet, many (male) offspring
Coconut flesh (椰肉; yēròu) – promoting togetherness
Apple (苹果; píngguǒ) – wisdom, peace
Sweets, (糖食; tángshí, 糖果;tángguǒ) – safety, good fortune and ‘sweeten’ the new year

(From: http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/Chinese_Customs/food_symbolism.htm)

Just to name a few.

The color red is very prominent not only during Chinese New Year, but in every day life in Chinese culture.  It symbolizes good fortune and joy.  But especially during New Years people would be wearing red underwear!  Why?  It’s to ward off any possibility of having a bad year.  This term is called benming nian (本命年).  Since this year is a dragon, anyone who is a dragon must be wearing red underwear to ensure good luck!  I’m just saying’…

Anywhoo, back to food…I decided to browse around my favorite food blogger Bee’s site for any inspiration for Chinese New Year food and I came across Peking styled Pork Chop.  Nice!  It’s pork (strength and wealth), it’s sweet, (sweet year ahead), it’s red (lucky), and I had plan to serve it over green veggies (green symbolizes health, prosperity, and harmony).  I couldn’t wait to get started…

Ingredients:
1 pound pork tenderloin
Oil
1 egg
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cooking rice wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1/2 tablespoon plum sauce
1/2 tablespoon chili sauce
1/4 teaspoon Hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons black vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water

 

Picture of all the main ingredients.  Seems like a lot, but not really.  Already, I made one mistake, can you spot it?

Start by making the marinade/batter for the pork.  In a bowl, add egg, corn starch, wine, and salt and make sure as you beat, all the corn starch is thoroughly mixed in.  Set aside

Slice the pork tenderloin

Slice them ½ inches thick.

Now for the fun part, use a meat tenderizer to flatten the slices.  I did another mistake here, more in the notes.

Here are the slices flattened.  Flatten meat is faster to cook and easier to bite into.

Submerge the pork slices into the marinade.  Make sure all slices are fully covered.  Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.

Mix together the sauce ingredients: ketchup, plum sauce, chili sauce, Hoisin sauce, Worcestershire sauce, black vinegar, sugar, water.  Mix until the sugar has fully dissolved.  You will know when the sauce is not grainy.

After 30 minutes of marinating, prepare oil in a wok for deep frying.  Put enough that the slices can be fully submerged in the oil.  Heat the wok to medium heat.  We don’t want the heat too high for risking the outside burnt while the inside is raw.  On my electric stove, I set the setting for 6.  Wait about 5 minutes for the oil to reach correct temperature.

I know my oil is ready when I dip my wooden chopsticks that was in the marinade in the oil and it starts bubbling.

Carefully and slowly place the slices in the oil taking care not to splash the oil and not to over fill.  The oil will drop it’s temperature slightly with each cold slices put in, so only put in a few at a time and fry in batches.

I made a mistake here again, but anyways, fry the slices until golden brown on each side.

Have a plate on the side prepared with paper towels to soak up any excess oil when you remove the slices.

After frying all the pork slices, drain out the oil, wipe clean with a paper towel and use the same wok.  Keep the same stove setting and cook the sauce.

Bring the sauce to a boil.

Work quickly, put the pork into the sauce making sure to cover all pieces with the sauce until it starts to shine and the sauce thickens up.

I plated it over steamed gai lan (Chinese broccoli).  Nice contrast of colors here.

Original Recipe: http://rasamalaysia.com/peking-pork-chops/2/

Notes:

  • As noted earlier, I used the wrong chili sauce.  I had used the garlic chili sauce, which gave the final dish a little bit of garlic flavor.  Not intended.  I needed to use Sriracha and it will get an even brighter red color.
  • I didn’t make a mistake, per se, in reference to the meat pounding, but I could have done something better in this step.  Usually, I would put plastic wrap on the cutting board, then put the meat on the plastic, then cover the top with plastic, then start pounding with the flat side, not the jagged side.  Pounding with the jagged side damages the fibers of the meat, especially a tender cut like the tenderloin.
  • I didn’t put enough oil to fry my pork so I had to flip the pork over when one side was done, causing uneven frying.

- Max

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