Hawke's Bay Today



- 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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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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