Saturday, 31 July 2010

This is why you shouldn't bother getting a takeaway

Whenever I get a Chinese I always get the same thing - sweet and sour pork or chicken.

The thing is... it's crap really. It's not that hard to make it yourself and it will taste so much better - taste that sauce and you'll say "lolzorz this sauce totally pwnz that takeaway". I haven't deep fried anything here as I don't think it's necessary.

If you're stir-frying anything, make sure you've got all your tins open and all your ingredients chopped and ready to go as you won't have time to do this during the cooking process without everything burning. Don't be afraid of a hot wok and if you're not confident at tossing the ingredients around then use a spoon instead of spraying your dinner all over the kitchen.

  • 4 x pork steaks
  • Fresh ginger - an amount about the size of a man's thumb
  • 4 x garlic cloves
  • 1 x star anise
  • 2 x red bell peppers
  • 300g Thai jasmine rice or basmati
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 4 x tbsps tomato puree or passata
  • Small splash of rice vinegar
  • 4 x tbsps dark soy sauce
  • Handful of roasted peanuts
  • 6 x tbsps soft brown sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-4 tsps English mustard
  • 1 x tbsp vegetable or groundnut oil
  • Juice from a 400ml can of tinned pineapple chunks - add the pineapple if you like
  1. Trim the pork steak of excess fat and cut it into thin strips. Put it in a bowl with the soy sauce, the mustard, the sugar and some grated garlic. Grate the ginger over a plate, then squeeze it over the pork so that the juices leak out. Chuck it all in, mix it together and marinade it in the fridge overnight, or at least for 30 minutes.
  2. When you want to cook it, get it out of the fridge to let it adjust to room temperature, heat a wok on a high heat and put your rice in to soak. Strain the pork over a bowl but reserve the marinade.
  3. Add the oil to the wok, and when it's smoking add the pork. Stir fry it until brown, tossing for all you're worth. When the pork is brown on all sides, add the peppers and star anise to the wok and splash a little bit of rice vinegar on the bottom of the wok to deglaze it (don't use too much as it can be overpowering). It should reduce pretty quickly.
  4. Add the tomato puree, pineapple juice and chicken stock. Bring it to the boil and then simmer it until the sauce has thickened and the pork is cooked through, which should take about twenty minutes. Add the peanuts when you feel like it.
  5. In the meantime, bring your rice to the boil, stir it and then reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting (if you're using an electric cooker it might be worth turning it off completely for a couple of minutes) and cover the pan to let the rice steam nicely. When it's done, let it rest for about 15-20 minutes and rough it up with a fork to make it sticky.
  6. Serve with separate bowls, a pair of chopsticks, and a spoon for that point in the meal when you realise that Western cutlery is actually better.

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