Sunday 27 March 2011

That Chinese Pork Thing

As promised, here is my recipe for what we had for dinner last night. You must understand, I am not a precise cook. I play with recipes. I add things. I take things away. Feel free to do the same with what I show you here. Cooking is all about your own taste buds and no one else's. If you like the way you make something then, Woohoo!, go for it.

This Chinese Pork Thing is actually called Sung Choi Bao of Pork, Ginger and Mushrooms according to the recipe that I originally started out with. It is great food if you are entertaining informally. It is sit around the table and help yourself food while laughing and enjoying life. This is not food to make for yourself. It is for family, for friends, for sharing.

Think of it as a Chinese equivalent to tacos. You get your meat, some sauce and the wrapping. Serve a few things on the side if you like. I often supplement the meal with some spring rolls, (Bought! I may love to cook but even I am not always tied to the cooker.) or prawn toasts, or those wonderful barbeque pork steamed buns you can buy from the freezer section if you are lucky enough to have an oriental supermarket handy.

Okay, enough waffling on. Here is the recipe -

Finely chop an onion, some mushrooms and a small tin of water chestnuts. Do not put them in a food processor because this is a dish that you want to have the different textures - especially the water chestnuts as they retain their wonderful crunch even when cooked. Grate a good size nob of ginger and crush several cloves of garlic. This is one of those areas that is subjective because I love dishes that have a real punch of flavour but if you prefer things to be a little more subtle feel free to tone it down.

Pour a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a saute pan, or other wide bottomed pan, and cook all the chopped vegetables gently for about five minutes. Add your ground pork -

- to the pan and brown it. Get soy sauce, oyster flavoured sauce, chili sauce and Chinese cooking wine. (I use a combination of both dark and light soy sauce - not shown in photo.)

Notice the clever use of angle in the photo so you can't see the state of the kitchen counter behind.
Add to the browned meat and vegetable mixture in approximately these amounts:

3 tbsp of cooking wine
1 1/2 tbsp of oyster flavoured sauce
1 tbsp of each soy sauce
good squirt of chili sauce (again subject to your preferences)

Simmer the contents of the pan gently for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile start chopping again!

Grate a carrot. Finely chop some cabbage. Really finely chop some fresh chili. Slice some spring onions finely and shred some coriander (cilantro).

If you have prepared this dish for guests and are not going to be eating it for a while then put all the fresh veg in a bowl, cover and refrigerate. Cover and chill the meat mixture. When ready to serve reheat the meat, stir in the fresh veg and cook briefly until all of it is hot but you haven't started actively cooking the freshly added veg. A drizzle of sesame oil stirred in at the last moment is very nice too.

Serve it in a big help yourself bowl with lots of big iceberg lettuce leaves. And, yes, that is the correct lettuce for this dish. I know many people deride the humble iceberg now that there are so many more salad greens available these days but for this dish it is exactly what you want. Crisp, crunchy and a delightful contrast to the spicy, hot meat that you are going to wrap in it. Each person puts a little hoisin sauce onto a lettuce leaf, spoons in some of the meat and then wraps it up and enjoys.

If you want to add another crunch to the table then serve up a big bowl of prawn crackers with this. Put some meat on one of the crackers instead of in the lettuce for another twist on the theme.

By the way, I love the new squeezy bottle of hoisin I picked up at the Chinese supermarket on Friday. Works great for this dish.

In the words of my two mini monsters last night, 'Mummy, you have to make this more often.'

If you have leftovers they go nicely wrapped in a tortilla with some lettuce, hoisin and cucumber strips. Makes for a great change in their packed lunches.

It's easy. It's tasty. It's different. If you try making it I hope you enjoy it.



  1. i just found THIS thread.....nom,nom,nom :-) right thats it, thats for supper tonight woot!

  2. I have only just seen this post and I can't wait to make it.
    Wishing I had all the ingredients in the house now in fact.

  3. OK, on that basis, I am goping to cook this and see how my own mini monsters like it - or not. They love Chinese takeaway food so this should be a cinch!  


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