chinese roast pork

(I thought the earlier picture was anemic looking, so the next time I made this roast pork, I took another picture!) This is the home version of the traditional red roast pork found in Chinese restaurants all over the world. I like it with a stronger anise flavor so I’ve added a clove of star anise and Sichuan peppercorns to the marinade.  In Chinatown, specialty shops sell barbecued duck, crackling pork, and, red roast pork. Their wares hang in the shop windows, shiny with grease and stippled with fat. No words need convey the deliciousness of these barbecued and roasted meats. A pound of this red roast pork costs $9.00 in New York’s Chinatown. My homemade version: $5.00.

Chinese roast pork (adapted from: The Gourmet Chinese Regional Cookbook)

1 lb pork tenderloin, excess fat and the silver removed

2 T brown bean sauce, mashed
2 t minced garlic
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoons light soy sauce
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 Tablespoon dry sherry
1 clove star anise
1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red food coloring, optional

Put all ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat ingredients until sugar is just melted. Cool slightly. Put pork in a pan and pour marinade over pork. Refrigerate overnight. On baking day, let stand 3-6 hours at room temperature, turning occasionally. Remove from marinade and discard the marinade. Bake at 350˚ for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and tent with foil. Let the meat rest 10 minutes. Slice thinly and serve with rice or noodles.

Cook’s Note: I’ve upped the food coloring to make it a deeper red and made it optional because not everyone likes to color their food. It depends on if you want traditional or not!

five-spice tilapia

This really was quick and easy! I blanched the broccoli and sugar snap peas for 2 minutes each. Then rinsed and drained them to set the color. I seasoned stir-fried the broccoli in a little oil and seasoned it with sea salt. Then I stir-fried the peppers in oil with a little garlic–two cloves to be exact–then added the sugar snap peas to heat through. Afterwards, I sprinkled the peas and peppers with Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning. It’s becoming my favorite! The fish dish has just 3 main ingredients: soy sauce, brown sugar, and five-spice powder. Five spice powder is available from Asian markets. It contains star anise, Sichuan pepper, cinnamon, fennel seed, and cloves all ground up together in a delectable powder.

Five Spice Tilapia (from Eating Well)

Makes 4 servings | Active Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 15 minutes Ingredients

1 pound tilapia fillets (about 4 fillets)
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder (this is so hard to be precise; just sprinkle it on both sides of the fish!)
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 scallions, thinly sliced diagonally

1. Pat the fish fillets dry. Sprinkle both sides of each fillet with five-spice powder and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce and the sugar. Stir and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tilapia and cook until the outer edges of the fillets turn opaque, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and flip the fillets. Stir the soy sauce mixture and pour it into the pan. Bring the sauce to a oil and cook until the fish is cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle with scallion. Serve at once.

Nutrition Per serving : 180 Calories; 6 g Fat; 1 g Sat; 3 g Mono; 57 mg Cholesterol; 9 g Carbohydrates; 24 g Protein; 0 g Fiber

Another Recipe for Andy: Soy-Glazed Chicken

This recipe comes from  the  Better Homes and Gardens Oriental Cookbook. Oriental Cookbook. The title seems so quaint.  It conjures up Conrad, Shangrila, and Indiana Jones. As Edward Said has pointed out the concept oriental is a creation not a geographic reference.  The preferred term now is the regional Asian. I bought the cookbook in the early years of our marriage in the 70s when I was learning to cook. There were a few recipes in it that I went back to again and again: paper-wrapped bundles,  ginger chicken with lily buds, stuffed cucumbers (which Andy insisted belongs in a soup not as a main course), and  soy-glazed chicken.  

Like the Chinese Style Barbecued Spareribs, soy sauce is the key to this recipe. I won’t go into soy sauce again so I’ll just note that like the spareribs, this chicken is best when it has been marinated at least 4 hours or overnight. Over the years, I have refined this recipe to my family’s taste and I’ve made it with whole chicken as well as chicken pieces with equal success.  A long time ago, I read somewhere that chicken skin crisps up if baked at 450˚F for 10 minutes then at a reduced temperature of 350˚F to finish off roasting. So I recommend that. America’s Test Kitchen has a video on how to achieve crisp skin chicken but it uses baking powder so I didn’t want to try it as I was afraid it might change the taste of this chicken dish. I did use some of their techniques.

Ingredients for the marinade:
1/3 cup light soy sauce
2 tablespoons garlic powder (or 1 tablespoon garlic and 1 tablespoon onion powder)
1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon Five Spice Powder
1 star anise, optional
1 four or five pound roasting chicken

Prepare the marinade. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, garlic powder, black pepper, oil, five spice powder, and star anise, if using. I created an air pocket between the chicken skin and breast then I made two cuts alongside the backbone near the top and the center. Then place the chicken in a gallon plastic bag and pour the marinade all over it. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or preferably overnight, turning the bag occasionally.

Preheat the oven 450˚F.

Bake the chicken. Remove the chicken from the bag and discard the marinade. Place the chicken on a roasting rack set over a roasting plan. The teeny tiny kitchen didn’t have one so I covered a rimmed baking tray with double foil and set the chicken to roast on that. Roast the chicken 10 minutes at 450 then reduce the oven temperature to 350. Continue roasting for a total of 1 to 1 1/2 hours (including the 10 minutes) or until the drumstick moves easily in the socket. This chicken is juicy with a hint of anise. The skin turned out golden brown but not crisp as in crunchy–more experimenting needed.