Asian style pork ribs
About a week ago I went to the market looking for cuts of beef to cook some steaks and was shocked at the prices, even for the cuts that I would not consider very good for steak. Seeing that pork on the other hand was much more affordable my taste quickly changed to craving pork instead of beef. Funny how that works. I picked up a 5 lb tray of pork ribs, put half in the freezer, and made the other half for dinner. I don’t really follow any recipes and sort of throw things together but here is my best recollection of what I did. I think I first learned how to make this from theallamericanchinesecookbook.com and simply made some minor changes to suit my taste.
Pork ribs 2-3 lbs
Garlic 4-5 cloves minced
Ginger 1″ minced
Green onions 2 sliced
Gluten-free tamari 1 cup
Dry sherry or Chinese cooking wine 1/4 cup
Sesame oil 1/8 cup
Ketchup 1/4 cup
Chili pepper flakes 1 tsp or to taste
Brown sugar 1 Tbsp
Toasted sesame seeds 1 tsp
Put all ingredients except the pork in a 1 gallon ziploc bag. Seal the bag and shake vigorously from side to side to mix it all up. Add the pork to the bag, seal, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4-6 hours, or overnight. Turn the bag over a couple of times a few hours apart if you remember to spread the marinade around.
Remove the bag from the fridge about 20-30 minutes before cooking to bring it to room temperature. Pre-heat the oven to 325 F. Remove the pork from the bag (or whatever you used to marinate in) and reserve the marinade in a bowl. Cover a roasting pan with foil if desired – it makes it easier to clean – and put the pork in the oven. After one hour baste the pork with some of the marinade you put aside (on both sides!) and put the pork back in the oven for another 20 minutes. Repeat the basting process, put the pork in the oven for another 20 minutes, then remove and let rest loosely tented in foil for about 15 minutes so the juices redistribute throughout the meat.
Serving suggestion: serve with rice and a quick vegetable stir fry.
Note: While I include the marination process here – which I am doing today – I actually skipped it the day I bought the pork as I did not have the time. I prepared the marinade as described above, rubbed the pork with salt and pepper and put it in the oven, then did 3 rounds of basting after 40 minutes of cooking for a total of 1 hour 40 minutes. I prefer to marinade when possible but it certainly was nothing to spit at and the family really liked it served with rice.
I still remember the day my mom brought home a box of premixed sauce for tofu. I must have been around 9 because I remember cooking this dish. Mind you, almost the entire box, instructions and all were written in Japanese. The only things I could understand were the “how-to” illustrations and the words “Cook Do” on the front of the box. I made this dish, I fried the pork until it was cooked all the way through, and I added the packet of sauce and tofu to the pork and let it simmer. And boy was it delicious! I had no idea that the proper name for the dish was Mapo Tofu so from that day, I called it Cook Do and I remember eating Cook Do regularly until I moved in with my future husband who did almost all of the cooking until our son was born.
These days, I make Mapo from scratch. It’s easy enough, and I almost always have the ingredients on hand. Plus, it’s become comfort food for my family. My son spent an entire month in New York with his grandmother last summer. When I flew over to pick him up, one of the first things he asked was if I would cook Mapo Tofu for him. Before that moment, I never thought that the foods I cooked for my children would become something they would want to come home to.
2 garlic cloves minced
1 inch piece of ginger grated
1 lb. ground pork (be sure there’s no saline solution)
3 spring onions
2 T hot bean paste (we use Yeo’s brand, see notes)
2 T shoyu or tamari
1 T oyster sauce
1 block of firm tofu
1 T cornstarch
2 T rice wine vinegar
3/4 cup of water
1 T canola or peanut oil
Heat the oil over medium high heat in a wok or frying pan. Add the garlic, and ginger and cook until fragrant (less than 30 seconds). Be sure not to brown the garlic and ginger. Add the ground pork and stir fry until the pork is cooked through and is no longer pink. Add half of the spring onions, the three sauces, all of water and tofu. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Mix cornstarch and rice wine vinegar, add to pan, raise the heat and bring to a boil stirring gently until the sauce thickens. Add the remaining spring onions to the pan. Serve over hot rice. Enjoy.
Notes: Yeo’s hot bean paste is one of the milder pastes we’ve used. Different brands of hot bean paste have varying levels of heat so you may have to adjust your measurements accordingly.
We took out a pork roast from the freezer a couple of days ago and had it defrosting in the refrigerator, so it was time to use it. Being Sunday I figured I’d roast it as I had the time. I didn’t follow any particular recipe, I simply removed the roast from the fridge for about 15-20 minutes to bring it up to room temperature and after a quick pass through the fridge and cabinet I settled on salt, pepper, thyme, fresh garlic, and some Dijon mustard. The mustard was a little unusual for me but it felt right. Not being one to care much for sweet cooked food I passed on sugar, honey, jam or soda that I read many people like with pork. It just isn’t my thing.
Pork roast browning
To prepare I preheated the oven to 350 degrees and turned on the stove to just over medium (6) and picked a deep cast iron pan I could transfer from the stove to the oven and placed it on the burner. Putting the roast on the cutting board I used a paring knife to make deep slits into every side, and stuffed a slice of garlic into each slit so they sank in all the way (if you don’t they burn when you brown the roast). I then sprinkled and patted down every side with the salt, pepper, thyme, and mustard. The mustard went on last because I wanted the spices to be in direct contact with the meat. After adding a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil to the pan I gently put the roast in – to prevent splashing – and browned it for about a minute on each side, and then transferred the pan to the oven for a little over an hour.
At an hour I checked the temperature looking for an internal temperature of around 155 degrees (my thermometer is not very good so I look for 5-10 degrees below what it should actually say) and it still read 140 so I checked again about 20 minutes later. When done I removed the pan from the oven and placed the roast on a clean cutting board – loosely tented under foil – to rest for 10-15 minutes. When I thought I wouldn’t send juices all over the counter top I sliced the meat into thin slices. Some sauteed vegetables and we had a meal.
The great thing about this dish was that although cooking time was somewhere around an hour and a half for just over 3 pounds, prep time was literally about 5 minutes. The pan drippings can be used as an “au jus” sauce, or you can use it as a base to make a gravy. A side of creamy mashed potatoes would have gone nicely as well.
Posted in Food, Recipes
Tagged pork, roast