Chinese Salt and Pepper Pork
For some reason, I have really been craving great Chinese food. I keep thinking about the sauces, flavors, and diversity in most Chinese dishes. Whether they are simple greens cooked in garlic and oyster sauce, noodles, or meat dishes, I cannot get the thought out of my mind. So I had to do something about it. I wanted to make something that everyone would like to eat, and granted I have some picky eaters, it is hard to resist anything that is fried. So I decided to come up with a quick snack that I could present nicely and have it as a side dish for the family. I decided to go with what is known as salt and pepper pork.
This super simple dish has a great and easy marinade, and a ground salt and pepper that you will want to be sprinkling on all kinds of food.
- 4 thin pork chops
- 3 tbsp of light soy sauce
- pinch of pepper
- 1 tbsp sherry cooking wine
- 1 tsp superfine sugar
- 3 tbsp of cornstarch
- oil for frying
- green onion for garnish
- chili pepper, sliced, for garnish
- 1 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns
- 2 tbsp sea salt
- tiny pinch of Chinese five spice powder
Heat a large skillet on high heat. Add the peppercorns and the salt, and continue to mix for about 5 minutes until the salt turns color, slightly. Remove from the heat and place in a small bowl, adding the tiny pinch of Chinese five spice. Once cooled, either get your mortar out and grind into a fine powder, or get your spice grinder (coffee grinder) out and toss everything in and do the same.
Next, make your marinade. Begin by mixing the sugar, soy sauce, sherry, and pepper in a small bowl. Next, coarsely chop your pork chops. I like taking the medallions and cutting them into various sizes, leaving the bone in tact with enough meat and fat to nibble on. Take a ziplock bag and add in all of the cut up pork pieces, sprinkle with a teaspoon of the ground salt and pepper, and pour the marinade on top of the of the pork. Massage the meat using the outside of the bag, then remove as much air as possible and seal the bag. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or up to overnight.
When you are ready to fry, heat your oil to 350 degrees. As the oil is heating, remove the pork from the bag, not including the marinade, and add to a bowl. Sprinkle the cornstarch on top of the pork pieces, and make sure every piece gets the cornstarch on it.
When you are ready to fry, add the pork in batches and cook for about 4 minutes. Once a light golden brown, remove to a strainer, and repeat the process with the remaining pork. Once you fried all of the pork, add the drained pieces back to the oil and cook for another two minutes. This will change the texture a bit more, as well as the color. Pretty amazing. Remove with yoru spider or tongs and place on some paper towl to let any excess oil drain off. Take a generous pinch of the ground salt and pepper and sprinkle on top of the pieces.
Plate and sprinkle the sliced chilies and green onion on top of the pork. Spoon a bit of the salt and pepper mix on to the plate as well in case you or you guests want a little extra.
This is great as a snack or as a meal and brings a great Chinese dish to your table. Enjoy.