Archive for the 'pork' Category

Ginger Pork Cabbage Wraps

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My husband came home from the store the other day with the largest head of cabbage I think I’ve ever seen. It’s pumpkin shaped, and barely fits into the produce drawer in the refrigerator. Cabbage is one of his favorite vegetables, so this was a big score for him… but for me, well, there are many vegetables I’d rather eat.

Still, I like to be accommodating, so I’ve been trying to dream up new applications for cabbage in the kitchen. You can only have so much cabbage stir fry or coleslaw (and this is coming from the girl with an incredibly high tolerance for repetition), so I knew I needed to branch out if we were ever going to get through the abundant quantity currently occupying the bulk of the refrigerator.

I would like to take a moment to convey my new-found affection for ground pork. It’s readily available here, and much cheaper than ground beef, so I’ve been using it much more often than I ever did at home (when I think I only ever used it in pot stickers). It just begs to be mixed up with great Asian flavors like sesame oil, soy sauce, and green onions, and I’m perfectly willing to oblige. I realize it’s not the healthiest meat out there, but I tend to use it sparingly, so I’m confident my arteries are not completely clogged yet.

So, anyway, about all that cabbage. I had seen some appetizing recipes for lettuce wraps floating around, and thought ‘why not make cabbage wraps instead?’ So I did. With pork and rice, so you can almost count these as a complete meal!

Recipe:
3/4 pound lean ground pork
1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
3 tbsp chopped green onions
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 cup cooked rice
soft outer leaves from one head of cabbage

Combine the pork, ginger, green onions, soy sauce, and sesame oil and mix well.
Cook in a large nonstick frying pan until the pork is thoroughly cooked, then add the rice and stir.
Cut the cabbage leaves into 3″ triangles (or just tear into pieces that are about 3″ on each side).
Spoon about a tablespoon of filling onto a piece of cabbage, fold it up, and eat!

Bean Sprout Rice (Kongnamool Bap)

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I admit, the title of this recipe could be more enticing, but this is actually a nice, simple one-dish meal and it makes a lot of food. I’m still really excited about the fact that I can make edible rice without a rice cooker! I know white rice is pretty much a nutritional wasteland, but since we bought a GIANT bag of white rice when we first moved in (and it cooks nice and quickly) I need to find lots of ways to use it up.

I love the sauce for this, and next time I’ll probably double the amount I make. It’s superb with a few dashes of hot sauce, if you like spicy food!

(Adapted from Cooking Korean)

2 cups white rice
2 cups water
2 cups bean sprouts
1 pound ground pork

Marinade:
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp minced green onion
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp sesame oil

Sauce:
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp chopped green onion
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds

Wash the rice several times, then combine with water in a saucepan.

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Combine pork and marinade ingredients and set aside.
Mix ground pork with marinade ingredients and set it aside.
Spread the bean sprouts on top of the rice.
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Spread the marinated ground pork on top of the bean sprouts.
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Put the lid on the pan and bring to a boil. Turn down to medium and boil for about 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to low and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until rice is soft. Remove from heat and stir well. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Mix together all the sauce ingredients, and serve alongside the rice.

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Kalua Pork

Typically, this Hawaiian dish is cooked in an underground pit – but since that’s not the most convenient method available to me, I found this recipe that uses an oven.  You can use Hawaiian smoked salt, which my parents brought me from Hawaii when they went in April, or a combination of sea salt and liquid smoke.  

I found banana leaves in the freezer section of my local Asian market.
(adapted from Epicurious)

1 large banana leaf
6-lb boneless pork shoulder Boston roast (Boston butt), cut across grain into 6 pieces
2 tablespoons Hawaiian smoke salt (or 2 tbsp sea salt plus 2 tbsp liquid smoke)

Preheat oven to 500°F.

Lay 2 sheets of foil (each about 1 feet long) on a work surface with long sides overlapping by about 4 inches. 

Cut 2 (12-inch) lengths from banana leaf and center 1 on foil. 
Put pork on banana leaf and sprinkle with salt. 
Cover top of pork with other 12-inch length of banana leaf and 2 overlapping sheets of foil (each about 1 1/2 feet long). 
Crimp edges of foil tightly to form a packet and put in a large roasting pan. Add 2 inches of water and cover pan tightly with more foil.
Bake pork in middle of oven 3 1/2 hours. 
If necessary, replenish water in the pan while cooking.
Remove foil covering, and transfer foil to a flat surface.  
Remove the meat from the foil and banana leaf packet, place in a bowl, and shred with forks. 
Serve warm.

Kalua Pig

Typically, this Hawaiian dish is cooked in an underground pit – but since that’s not the most convenient method available to me, I found this recipe that uses an oven.  You can use Hawaiian smoked salt, which my parents brought me from Hawaii when they went in April, or a combination of sea salt and liquid smoke.  

I found banana leaves in the freezer section of my local Asian market.
(adapted from Epicurious)

1 large banana leaf
6-lb boneless pork shoulder Boston roast (Boston butt), cut across grain into 6 pieces
2 tablespoons Hawaiian smoke salt (or 2 tbsp sea salt plus 2 tbsp liquid smoke)

Preheat oven to 500°F.

Lay 2 sheets of foil (each about 1 feet long) on a work surface with long sides overlapping by about 4 inches. 

Cut 2 (12-inch) lengths from banana leaf and center 1 on foil. 
Put pork on banana leaf and sprinkle with salt. 
Cover top of pork with other 12-inch length of banana leaf and 2 overlapping sheets of foil (each about 1 1/2 feet long). 
Crimp edges of foil tightly to form a packet and put in a large roasting pan. Add 2 inches of water and cover pan tightly with more foil.
Bake pork in middle of oven 3 1/2 hours. 
If necessary, replenish water in the pan while cooking.
Remove foil covering, and transfer foil to a flat surface.  
Remove the meat from the foil and banana leaf packet, place in a bowl, and shred with forks. 
Serve warm.

Chili-Garlic Pork Tenderloin


Back story: We are moving out of our apartment on Friday. We will be driving to Oregon, spending the holidays with my family, and moving to Thailand on January 6. We’ve been gradually packing, but I had two pork tenderloins in the freezer I couldn’t bear to toss (or give away before we moved). So, with the kitchen completely empty except for a skillet and some bare cooking essentials, I created this – our last dinner in our beloved San Luis Obispo apartment.

2 pork tenderloins (1 1/2 – 2 lbs)
2 tsp chili powder
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
salt
pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
Sprinkle pork with a little salt and pepper.
Mix together the chili and garlic.  Rub all over the pork, then rub in the olive oil.  Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.  
Preheat the oven to 450.
Heat a skillet over high, then add the tenderloins and brown on all sides (about 4 minutes each side)
Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 155 or 160 F (depending on how paranoid you are!).
Slice and enjoy!
If you are like us, and all your utensils are packed, it’s perfectly acceptable to use your fingers.

Island Pork Tenderloin Salad


My parents and in-laws came over for a simple supper the other night, and this salad was the perfect thing to serve.  Not too heavy, the flavors are bright and interesting, and the fruits and vegetables provide great textural contrasts (and not to mention, lots of fiber and vitamins!)  The pork with the rub and sauce is delicious – I think any leftovers would make a great sandwich.

(adapted from Epicurious)

For pork
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 pork tenderloins (2 1/4 to 2 1/2 pounds total)
2 tablespoons olive oil

For glaze
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons Tabasco

For vinaigrette
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon curry powder, toasted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

For salad
3 navel oranges
5 ounces baby spinach, trimmed (6 cups leaves)
2 cups thinly sliced cabbage 
1 red bell pepper, cut lengthwise into thin strips
1 firm-ripe California avocado

Prepare pork:
Stir together salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon, then coat pork with spice rub.  Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 F
Heat oil in an ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until just beginning to smoke, then brown pork, turning, about 4 minutes total. Leave pork in skillet.

Make glaze and roast pork:
Stir together brown sugar, garlic, and Tabasco and pat onto top of each tenderloin. Roast in middle of oven until thermometer inserted diagonally in center of each tenderloin registers 150°F, about 20 minutes. Let pork stand in skillet at room temperature 10 minutes. (Temperature will rise to about 160°F while standing.)

Make vinaigrette while pork roasts:
Whisk together juices, mustard, curry powder, salt, and pepper, then add oil in a stream, whisking until emulsified.

Prepare salad ingredients while pork stands:
Cut peel, including white pith, from oranges with a sharp knife, then cut oranges crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.  Cut the slices into quarters.

 Toss spinach, cabbage, bell pepper, and oranges in a large bowl with about 1/4 cup vinaigrette. Halve, pit, and peel avocados, then cut diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Assemble salad:
Cut pork into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Line a large platter with dressed salad and arrange sliced pork and avocado in rows on top. Drizzle some vinaigrette over avocados. Pour any juices from skillet over pork.

Pulled pork

After my last triathlon, we went to a great barbecue place in town.  I had pulled pork with coleslaw for the first time, and it was pretty much a transcendental experience for me.  I immediately added pulled pork to my list of things to make, but didn’t get around to it for a few months.  For some reason, the idea of committing to buying a 4 pound piece of pork just kind of stressed me out.  But then I decided to make char siu…, and that required 2 pounds of meat.  I took the plunge, bought a 4 pound pork butt, and froze half for this very recipe.  Weeks went by until I decided to retrieve the frozen chunk of meat to make pulled pork.

WHY did I wait so long ?!??! I don’t know…but now I want to make it again, and soon.  Sweet, smoky, tangy – this is what barbecue should be.  The best part?  It just sits in the slow cooker all day, so when you get home from work, the smell will make you will drool instantly upon opening the door.  

Marinade:
2 lbs boneless pork butt
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
1 tbsp hot sauce (I like Red Rooster)

Sauce:
3/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp smoke-flavored salt (my parents brought me some from Hawaii and it is awesome…if you don’t have this, kosher salt is fine too, and if you want to, you can add a couple drops of liquid smoke)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Cut the piece of pork into 2 or 3 equal-sized pieces.  
Whisk together the ingredients for the marinade, and rub into the pork.
Let sit in the marinade overnight.
In the morning, mix together the ingredients for the sauce, adjusting amounts of sugar and vinegar depending on your preference for sweet or tangy sauce.
Put the pork and marinade in the slow cooker and pour the sauce over it.
Cook on low for about 8 hours, then shred with two forks and cook another hour.
Serve with coleslaw.

Steamed Pork Buns (Bao)

They may not look like much from the outside, but these soft buns filled with smoky-sweet barbecued pork are one of my favorite foods.  I fell in love with them in Singapore 12 years ago and have been a huge fan ever since.

When we go to dim sum, I always eat far too many of these, and I’m so happy I now know how to make them at home!  

(adapted from The Chinese Kitchen by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo)
Sauce:
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp ketchup
2 tsp sugar
pinch white pepper
2 tsp corn starch
1/4 cup chicken stock
Filling:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup diced onion
3/4 cup char siu pork, cut into 1/4″ pieces
2 tsp Chinese rice wine
1/2 tsp sesame oil
dough:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
6 tbsp milk
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Combine sauce ingredients and mix well.  Set aside.
To make the filling: heat the vegetable oil on high in a large saucepan and spread to coat the pan thinly.  Add the onion, lower heat to medium, and cook for about 5 minutes until the onion is light brown.  Add the pork and cook for about 3 minutes.  Add the rice wine and mix well.  Stir the sauce, pour into the pan, and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.  Remove from heat, and stir in sesame oil.  Set aside, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until needed.
To make the dough: Mix the flour, baking powder, and sugar together in a medium bowl.  Make a well in the center, and add milk and water.  Stir until liquid is absorbed, then add the oil.
Knead for about 15 minutes, adding a little water if too dry or flour if too wet.  
Once the dough is smooth and elastic, return to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rest for one hour.
To assemble:  Roll the dough into a cylinder about 12″ long and cut into 12 equal pieces.  Keeping the unused dough covered with a damp cloth, work with one piece at a time.  Flatten slightly, spoon about 1 1/2 tbsp into the middle, and pinch the dough together to enclose the filling.  Set onto a small square of wax paper, and repeat with remaining dough.
Bring a medium saucepan filled with water to a boil.  Place a bamboo steamer on top and arrange the buns so they have room to expand (leave at least 1 1/2″ between them).  Steam for 15-20 minutes, then turn off the heat, and serve.

Char Siu Pork

Char siu pork was like an exciting new taste discovery to me when I was just beginning to cook.  I needed some for a recipe, so we went to the Asian grocery store and bought some.  I was intrigued by the appearance of the bright red meat, and also by the sweet, smoky flavor.  I continued buying Char siu to use in recipes until this weekend.  I discovered that my favorite Chinese cookbook had a recipe, and it didn’t look too difficult.  

I bought the wrong kind of pork (butt instead of loin), sliced it much more thinly than usual, and it was still absolutely wonderful.  I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to store bought!
(adapted from The Chinese Kitchen by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo)
About 2 pounds of pork butt or pork loin
4 tsp soy sauce
1/3 cup honey
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp Chinese rice wine
4 tsp hoisin sauce
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
Cut the pork into slices about 1/2″ to 1″ thick.
Prick all over both sides with a fork.
Line a roasting pan with foil.  Place the pork in a single layer in the bottom of the pan.
In a small bowl, whisk together all remaining ingredients and pour over the meat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate 2 to 4 hours.
Heat the oven to 450 F.  Place the roasting pan on a rack in the middle and roast for about 25 minutes.  Turn the meat over and baste every 5 to 6 minutes.  If the sauce dries out, add some boiling water to the pan.  Some of the sauce may burn in the pan, but the meat should be fine.  Check for doneness by removing one piece of pork and slicing in the middle to see if it is cooked through.
Remove from the pan to cool.

Singapore Noodles

Singapore was the first foreign country I ever visited.  My family was living in Australia, but that didn’t really count as foreign, because as my mom liked to say, it was a perfect mix of California and the UK.  

But Singapore, to my 13-year old eyes, was really foreign.  I remember walking past Hindu temples in the Indian section of the city in awe of how it was unlike anywhere I’d ever been.  We ate at hawker centers, filling up on steamed pork buns and noodles that cost startlingly little.  I even tried durian for the only time in my life, holding my nose as I slurped up the sweet yellow flesh.
I loved Singapore, and I desperately want to go back soon.   This recipe is a quick version of the fragrant curry noodles that are sold all over the city.  In a temporary lapse in brain function, I completely forgot that I have a recipe for them in one of my cookbooks.  I turned to google, which never lets me down, and found this recipe on the Sugarlens blog. I didn’t have shrimp, so I used tofu instead. It was delicious!

(adapted from The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen cookbook by Grace Young, seen at Sugarlens)

Singapore Rice Noodles:

– 8 dried shiitake mushrooms
– 8 ounces rice vermicelli
– 3 tablespoons thin soy sauce
– 1 tablespoon rice cooking wine
– 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
– 4 ounces extra firm tofu, thinly sliced and cooked in a frying pan until golden
– 1 cup cabbage, cut into julienne strips
– 1/2 cup carrots, cut into julienne strips
– 1/2 cup finely shredded scallions
– 1 tablespoon curry powder
– 1 cup chicken broth
– 4 ounces Chinese barbecued pork, store-bought or homemade, cut into julienne strips

In a medium bowl, soak the mushrooms in 1/4 cup cold water for 30 minutes, or until softened. Drain and squeeze dry. Cut off and discard stems and thinly slice the caps.

In a large bowl, soak the rice noodles in enough cold water to cover for 20 to 30 minutes, or until noodles are limp and softened. Drain in a colander and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, and salt. Set aside.

Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the vegetable oil and sliced mushrooms, and stir-fry 30 seconds. Add scallions, cabbage and carrots. Cook until tender. Add the curry powder and stir-fry 10 seconds, or until fragrant. Stir soy sauce mixture and swirl it into the wok. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat.

Add the drained rice noodles and return to a boil, stirring noodles to completely coat in curry mixture. Cover and cook over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until noodles are just tender. Add the tofu and barbecued pork, and cook, stirring, 1 to 2 minutes, or until liquid has been absorbed by the noodles. Serve immediately.



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