Cantonese Style Chilli Salt and Pepper Pork


This dish is one of my ultimate favourites that I order without fail when we go out for Chinese or order in. The only problem is, not all Chinese restaurants or takeaways have this on their menu, and if you do get it at a takeaway, it's almost guaranteed to arrive soggy without the delicious crispiness or freshness that this dish craves. So I thought i'd give it a go myself. Yes, it's deep fried, but let's be honest, it's gonna be way healthier eating deep fried home cooked Chinese than ordering it from your local takeaway. This is one of those dishes that will certainly impress at dinner parties, and will also help to satisfy any of those cheeky takeaway cravings you may have!

Deep fried pork cooked with chilli salt and pepper, red chillies, spring onions, onions and garlic
Cantonese style chilli salt and pepper pork

I've made this dish with pork, but there is nothing stopping this from being substituted with chicken, fish or even prawns.


Ingredients to serve 2:


To marinate the pork

4 pork loin chops (approx 550 grams)

2 tablespoons of Chinese rice wine (Shaoxing Wine, or a dry sherry will do)

4 tablespoons water

3/4 teaspoon salt

A couple pinches of five spice powder

1/2 teaspoons sesame oil


Coating

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 cup plain flour

A sprinkle of white pepper

1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 tablespoons water

The rest of the ingredients

1 medium sized onion

2 red chillies

4 spring onions

3 garlic cloves

3 cups of vegetable/rapeseed/peanut oil for frying 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

a couple pinches of white pepper

a sprinkle of five spice powder


Method


1. Trim any excess fat from the pork. Using a meat mallet, tenderise the pork on both sides by flipping it over. Cut pork into 2-3 inch sized pieces. Mix all ingredients together and coat the meat evenly. Side aside for 15 minutes or longer to marinade.


2. Combine the ingredients for the coating in a bowl large enough to fit the pork as well. When the coating ingredients are well mixed, add in the pork and ensure all pieces of pork are coated in the batter. Set to one side.


3. Time to prepare the veggie/garnishes. Slice the red chillies by slicing in half and cutting finely. Peel the onion and slice it into thin strips. Make sure spring onions are washed thoroughly, then slice them across so they are in little circles. Peel the garlic and mince.


4. Heat the oil in a wok or saucepan (whatever you prefer to deep fry in). A tip to check if the oil is at the right temperature is to put a pair chopsticks standing upright in the centre of the wok - if bubbles appear around it, the oil is at the right temperature. Or you can use a thermometer - when it's about 190 degrees Celsius you can add your pork in to fry. Add the pork in batches so that it can cook evenly. Fry until golden brown then place on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.


5. Discard the oil in the wok. Put wok back on high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. When oil is simmering, add in the onions. when onions have softened and are browning, add in the chillies and garlic. Keep tossing in the wok and add in the spring onions. Stir fry for a further 30 seconds then add in your pork chop pieces in together with the onion, chilli and garlic mixture tossing the ingredients all together. Switch off the heat. Sprinkle in your coarse sea salt, white pepper and five spice powder and do some more tossing. With all the ingredients nicely mixed together, you can now serve the pork.


This meal is delicious served with some steamed rice and a side of stir fried veggies - perhaps a garlic pak choi? - click for recipe