Hawke's Bay Today

PORK PLEASERS

RECIPE FOR SUCCESS

- Jan Bilton

For the Chinese, February 5 was the beginning of a new lunar year — the Year of the Pig or boar. The Chinese calendar begins on the second new moon after the northern hemisphere winter begins. It is divided into 12-year cycles with each year represente­d by different animals. The rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and lastly, the pig or boar. Each animal imposes its personalit­y on its allocated year. Pork is a popular meat in China and other Asian countries. It is great in stir-fries, curries, casseroles and as a barbecue mainstay. Surprising­ly, pork is one of the leaner meats with a high level of essential nutrients. Most of the fat is under the skin around the outside of the meat and can be trimmed. Nutritiona­l analysis for pork leg steaks show the fat content is only 5 per cent. If all visible fat is removed, the fat content drops to just 1 per cent. Food plays an important role in new year celebratio­ns, so I’ve developed some Asian-inspired dishes to celebrate the Year of the Pig.

CHIANG MAI LAAB

Make your own delicious mouthfuls by spooning the pork into lettuce leaves and topping with chopped chilli and peanuts. Ingredient­s ■ 2 Tbsp canola oil ■ 500g lean minced pork ■ 2 shallots, diced ■ 1 Tbsp each: lemon grass paste, finely diced kaffir lime leaves ■ 3 Tbsp fish sauce ■ 1⁄2 tsp chilli flakes ■ 1⁄2 cup each: mint leaves, coriander leaves ■ 2 Tbsp each: lime juice, roasted rice powder ■ Salad: 16-20 buttercrun­ch lettuce leaves ■ 1-2 Tbsp chopped red chilli ■ 3⁄4 cup chopped roasted peanuts

Method

Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan. Stir-fry the pork in batches for about 7 minutes, until cooked and well coloured. Remove from the heat and fold in the remaining ingredient­s. Serve in a bowl in the centre of a platter surrounded by the lettuce leaves, peanuts and chilli. — Serves 4-6

VIETNAMESE FIVE-SPICE PORK FILLET

Excellent served sliced with a salad prepared from fresh mint, basil, coriander, Vietnamese mint, cucumber and mung bean sprouts with a dressing of sweet chilli sauce and crushed garlic thinned with lime or lemon juice. Ingredient­s ■ 1 tsp peppercorn­s ■ 4 cloves garlic ■ 1 large shallot, chopped ■ 1 Tbsp each: lemon grass paste, light soy sauce, brown sugar ■ 1 tsp each: five-spice powder, sesame oil ■ 600g pork fillet

Method

Finely grind the peppercorn­s, garlic and shallot together with the lemon grass paste. Combine with the soy sauce, brown sugar, five-spice powder and sesame oil. Rub over the pork and marinate overnight in the refrigerat­or in a covered container. Return the meat to room temperatur­e. Grill or barbecue the fillet on medium heat for about 15 minutes, turning often. — Serves 6 as a starter or 4 as a main

PORK WITH CAPERS & COCONUT CREAM

Great served with lime or lemon wedges for squeezing over the pork. Ingredient­s ■ 200g egg noodles ■ 1 Tbsp canola oil ■ 400g pork schnitzel, thinly sliced ■ 3 spring onions, thinly sliced ■ 1 cup coconut milk ■ 2-3 Tbsp capers, rinsed and drained ■ salt and pepper to taste ■ herbs to garnish

Method

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wok or frying pan. Stir-fry the pork with the spring onions in batches for about 2 minutes. Place aside. Add the coconut milk to the pan. Simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add the capers. Return the pork to the pan with the drained noodles then season. Great garnished with fresh herbs such as mint, basil and coriander. — Serves 4

GINGER PORK RIBS

Ingredient­s ■ 1kg pork spareribs ■ 1⁄2 cup smooth marmalade or apricot jam ■ 3 Tbsp light soy sauce ■ 3 cloves garlic, crushed ■ 1 Tbsp finely grated root ginger

Method

Cut the ribs to a suitable size. Combine the remaining ingredient­s and heat for 1-2 minutes. Brush over the ribs and stand in the refrigerat­or for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C. Place the ribs on a rack over a roasting pan containing a little water. Cook for 45 minutes or until tender, basting occasional­ly. Serve hot or cold. — Serves 4

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