The aromatic flavour of Szechuan pepper really stands out in this restaurant quality, Asian pork dish that will surely bring you fame amongst family and friends. This is really easy to make and served with a healthy dose of Asian greens and brown rice, not too shabby on the waist line either.
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cooking Time: 30 Minutes
$$ Medium Budget
2 tbs of peanut oil
2 large pork fillets
2 cloves of garlic
5cm piece of ginger, peeled and cut into chunks
1-2 large red chillies, depending on your level of spice tolerance (seeds removed will make it less hot)
2 tsp of Szechuan peppercorns, lightly toasted in a dry pan then ground in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder*
1/4 cup of dark soy sauce
1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar
2 tbs of soft brown sugar
1 tbs of fish sauce
1 cup of water
2 tbs of hoi sin sauce
2 spring onions, finely sliced diagonally
1 Red Chilli, finely sliced
Thai basil leaves for garnish
1 bunch of broccolini, ends removed and sliced in half
1 bunch of choy sum, ends removed and sliced into 5cm batons
Steamed brown rice to serve (jasmine would also be lovely)
Preheat the oven to 180°C
Place the garlic, ginger and chilli in a small processor or hand chopper and blitz until you have a fine paste.
Heat a large heavy based, oven proof pan and add the oil, ginger, chilli and garlic. Stir fry for a few minutes until soft and aromatic, add in the Szechuan pepper and then pour in the soy, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce and water. Mix well to combine and stir in the sugar until dissolved. Allow the mixture to come to the boil, simmer for approximately 5 minutes and then lay the pork fillets in the pan. toss them around in the liquid and spoon over all those beautiful aromatics. Place them in the oven for 25 minutes with the lid off. Baste them with the sauce every 10 minutes or so.
After 25 minutes, remove the pork from the oven and place the fillets on a plate or carving tray, cover with foil and allow to rest. Return the pan to the stove top and bring the liquid back to the boil. Add the Hoi Sin sauce and allow the sauce to reduce for 5-10 minutes. Once the meat has rested and the sauce has reduced, slice it into 1cm thick slices on the diagonal.
While you are reducing the sauce bring a saucepan with about 2cm of water in the bottom to the boil. Use a steamer or blanche the Chinese broccolini and choy sum for 2-3 minutes until tender but still bright green in colour.
To serve, spoon some steamed rice into a ramekin and invert onto each plate. Arrange the broccolini and choy sum in a neat row and divide the pork fillets between the four plates. It looks really nice piled on top of the Asian vegetables. Spoon over the sauce, which should be nice and glossy and reduced and for a final flourish…….sprinkle over the spring onions, chilli and Thai basil leaves.
*You can find Szechuan peppercorns at gourmet food shops (Essential Ingredient) and Asian grocery stores. You may also use Asian greens of your choice…..