from one generation to the next
It wasn’t until I was part way through the preparation of this dish for the first time that I realised that I was essentially making sweet and sour pork. Prejudiced by the cloying and fatty pork dishes from dodgy Chinese take aways served in the 1980s I nearly changed my mind, but the slivers of fresh pineapple roasting in the oven motivated me to keep going. I judged that they alone were a step in the right direction. We loved this dish so much that first time I vowed to make it again
Since that first taste of this delicious pork dish I’ve reduced my meat intake significantly, making the meat the focus of a meal just once a week. I thought long and hard about choosing a meat dish to cook this week, then the fruity aroma of pineapple from the display in my fruit shop clinched the deal. You need just one half of a pineapple for this recipe and if like me you like a bite of acidity, choose one that is a little under ripe. Roasting the fruit intensifies the flavour and sweetness.
There are a few steps involved in the preparation but it’s not at all complicated. Once the pineapple is roasted, the meat marinating and the sauce reducing on the stove top, all that remains is a quick stir fry before it is ready to serve.
Simply put it’s subtly spiced stir fried pork, charred roasted fresh pineapple and a piquant sauce. The flavours were irresistibly good.
I have a penchant for putting my mark on recipes, making adjustment as I go. This delicious dish was well and truly inspired by Melbourne based blogger Josephine @ “Burp! Appetite” who posts Asian style recipes that are suitable for my quirky diet. She uses ingredients that are fresh appealing and tasty. Josephine understands flavour!
If you too have horrible memories of fatty pork with canned pineapple in a sweet sauce passed off as sweet and sour, I urge you to try this recipe, you’ll be pleased you did.
Charred Pineapple Pork in Sweetened Black Rice Vinegar to serve 4
1/2 slightly underripe pineapple
500g pork shoulder thinly sliced
1 green pepper cut into 3cm squares.
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice
1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns, ground
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup Chingkiang black rice vinegar
1 cup chicken stock
2 heaped tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon dark soy
50g fresh ginger cut into chunks
Preheat the oven to 220C and line a tray with baking paper.
Peel the pineapple and discard the skin.
Remove the eyes then thinly slice the fruit. Cut each slice into 5-6 pieces then remove the core and set it aside for the sauce.
Arrange the pineapple pieces on the oven tray then bake until it’s beginning to char on the edges, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Put all the sauce ingredients plus the pineapple trimming into a small saucepan.
Heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved.
Bring the sauce to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce has reduced by half. Strain and keep warm.
Toss the sliced pork in the cornflour using your finger to massage it through and separate the slices.
Add the marinade and again, thoroughly massage it through. Rest the marinating pork in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.
Heat a wok until smoking then add a little oil. Stir fry the pork in small batches and set aside.
Add the green pepper to the hot wok and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
Return the pork to the wok, moisten with a little sauce then bring to the boil.
Serve immediately garnished with the charred pineapple pieces. Pass the sauce at the table.
This dish is delicious with steamed rice and a side salad of Asian coleslaw.