Friday, 15 April 2011

Baked Pork Chop Rice

This is my homage to Hong Kong-style fastfood restaurants that ushered me gently into the wonderful world of Hong Kong food. At the start my stint in the former British colony in the early 1990s, I was quite intimidated of walking into any restaurant for fear of being reprimanded or ignored due to my lack of Cantonese language skills. So the fast food restaurants of Maxim's and Cafe de Coral were heaven sent for me. If the staff does not speak English I simply point to the brightly coloured pictures of mouth-watering food on the wall and I get served pronto!

Thank god the fast food there were so much healthier than the usual Western ones. The mains were almost always a rice-based meal or noodles with meat. Although there are some pretty weird ones like Hot Lemon Coke. Once I plucked the courage to order one to satisfy my growing curiosity. How did they do it? They filled up a tall glass with Coke, stuck in a microwave and nuked it then, just before handing it to me, dropped a slice of lemon in it. Et voila - hot lemon coke! I was laughing pretty much of the time I walked to my table. The concoction had a strange chemical potion taste to it. Similar to a medicine you're forced to swallow when you were small except it's hot. It was okay though I'm not hurrying to order another one any time soon. LOL.

Baked Pork Chop Rice is one of my favourites among Cafe de Coral's menu. It is simply fried pork chops (marinated and floured), put on a bed of egg fried rice, topped with a tomato-based sauce and grated cheese then baked. Just remembering the smell when it comes out of the oven onto my plastic tray and the wonderful taste of the succulent chops starts me drooling.

My well-thumbed Chopsticks Recipes Introduction cookbook by Cecilia J. Au Yeung is where I got the recipe that I adapted.

Baked Pork Chop Rice

500 gm pork chops or pork rib steaks or pork shoulder steaks
grated cheddar cheese

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp celery salt (optional)
1 tsp light soy sauce
2 tsp rice wine
2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp cooking oil

1 medium onion - chopped
2 medium tomatoes - chopped
1/2 cup of chopped vegetables - carrots, peas, sweetcorn, celery, etc.
1 Tbsp tomato paste or ketchup
1 cup stock
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp cornflour
3 Tbsp water
1 cooking oil

*Egg Fried Rice:
4-5 cups cooked rice
2 beaten eggs
3 Tbsp cooking oil
salt to taste
  1. Pound the meat with a meat mallet or the back of a cleaver knife to tenderise.
  2. Combine all ingredients for the marinade and mix with the meat. Marinate for 25 minutes.
  3. Add the oil and marinate for another 10 minutes.
  4. While it is marinating, make your egg fried rice. Heat the oil in a wok.
  5. Add the cooked rice plus salt according to taste.
  6. Stir fry for a few minutes.
  7. When it is almost done, push the rice to the sides of the wok and drizzle a little oil in the middle. Pour in the beaten eggs and cook in the middle for a few seconds until almost completely set. Then combine it with the rest of the rice breaking it up as you stir it in.
  8. Remove from heat and set aside.
  9. For the sauce, heat the cooking oil in a sauce pan.
  10. Saute the onion in medium heat until translucent.
  11. Add the tomatoes and cook until soft. Mash the tomatoes with a spatula.
  12. Tip in the soy sauce, sugar, tomato paste, pepper, stock, and vegetables.
  13. Bring to boil and then simmer until the vegetables are cooked (about 5 minutes).
  14. Dissolve the cornflour in the water and then add to the sauce.
  15. Bring to boil on medium heat and stir until thickened.
  16. Remove from heat and set aside.
  17. Pre-heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/430F.
  18. Dredge the marinated pork chops in flour.
  19. Deep fry or pan fry until golden brown - about 3 minutes each side.

*To assemble:
  1. Divide the egg fried rice into oven-proof bowls.
  2. Top each one with one fried pork chop.
  3. Spoon sauce on top.
  4. Sprinkle grated cheese.
  5. Bake in oven for about 15 minutes.
  6. Serve while hot.