Hainanese Pork Chops


The "Empress Dowager"  birthday is coming up. No chance of forgetting the event, we have gotten reminders a month ahead, followed by weekly and then daily prompting.

Her must have includes the braised sea cucumber with abalone and mushroom and a whole array of seafood dishes. I usually cook these dishes at home so that the family could eat till our heart's content without having to rob the bank.

Putting the menus together, my sisters reminded me that we needed a meat dish as the boys (and man) can't do without meat.

With all these seafood dishes to cook, I need a meat dish that is easy to prepare and yet appealing to the boys, translate: no steaming, ideally deep fried and with gravy to ladle onto the rice.

The recent post on stir fried cabbage with shrimps and tang hoon dish evoked a memorable dish that we as children liked a lot - Hainanese Pork Chops.

The "Empress Dowager" doesn't cook much (then and now), the cooking are done by slave number 1 (Papa) and slave number 2 (yours sincerely).
"Her Royal Highness"  prefers the easy way out - The Zhi Char Stall at the foot of our block.

I remembered the Zhi Char stall was managed by a middle aged cook (also the owner) and his suave looking assistant (gossips has it that he was working to save for his overseas studies)

I must have been around 11-12 years old then, watching him vividly flatten the pork loin with the back of the cleaver, dipping it in the egg wash and finally coating it with the cream crackers which he had crushed earlier with the pester in the green cream crackers box.
I was so fascinated by the preparation work. (Ok, the suave looking assistant made it a pleasure to watch as well.)

For authenticity, I used cream cracker rather than breadcrumbs or panko (breadcrumbs and panko gave a different texture), the cream crackers imparted a lovely buttery flavour to the pork.
I do not want the crumbs too fine so I simply put the cream crackers in a zip lock bag and rolled the baking pin over, done!

The other must have ingredients are ripe tomatoes, peas, onion and deep fried potatoes.

Shiok ah! the "Ang Mo" pork chops! (as known to the boys)

You will need:

500gm (5 pieces 1/2 cm thick) of  Pork Loin
12-15 soda cream crackers
2 eggs
1 medium red onion, peeled and juilenned into semi-circular rings
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
A handful of peas
1 tomatoes, diced or cut into wedges
2 tbsp potato starch (or cornflour)
2 tbsp water
Oil for deep frying
10 -15 pieces of potatoes (deep fried)

1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp tau cheong paste (optional)
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced (optional)

1 tbsp worcestershire or Lea and Perrins sauce (compulsory!!!)
1 tbsp A1or HP steak sauce (optional)
3 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 Tsp pepper
1/2 to 1 cup of water
1 tbsp potato starch or corn starch
2 tbsp water (to be mixed with starch)

1. Pound the pork slices with a meat mallet.

2. Transfer pork slices into a bowl, marinate the pork slices well ensuring that every piece is well coated, set aside in fridge for at least an hour.

3. Meanwhile, process the cream crackers. (You can use pestle and mortar or the blender, I did mine by putting the cream crackers in a zip lock bag and roll the baking pin over) Set aside the crumbs.

4. Mix the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl.

5. Heat wok until hot and pour sufficient oil (enough to submerge the pork slices completely)  into the wok.

6. Coat marinated pork slices generously with egg wash and then with cracker crumbs pile.
Gently slide pork slices into wok of hot oil ensuring that the slices are completely submerge.
Repeat for the rest of the pork slices.  Remove when they begin to turn golden brown and drain over wire sieve and kitchen towel.

7. You may use a separate pan or transfer frying oil into a container and give the wok a quick rinse to remove any crumb debris.

8. In the heated oil wok, add onion slices and minced garlic. Stir fry until they soften and exude aroma. Add peas and tomatoes and continue to stir fry for a while.

9. Pour sauce bring to a boil. Bring heat down to medium low and drizzle in starch mixture while stirring continuously until the sauce thickens to the desired consistency. Add the deep fried potatoes.

10. Cut pork slices into squares or thick strips and pour sauce over pork chop, serve immediately.

Cooks' Note:
1. Instead of pork, you can use chicken meat.

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