chilli caramelised pork with apple and mint salad
I posted this recipe over on are your planets keeping you fat? You see, the Moon is in Taurus, and for those few days every month, it’s seriously a case of step away from the fridge.
This is a great recipe and can be easily adapted for gluten free cooking without losing any of the taste. It’s also easy to adapt this for a single serve- or more. The quantities below serve 4.
It’s fresh and pretty for Spring and takes the five senses for a great big ride.
The apple and mint, with just a fleck of red chilli looks pretty, the smell as you tear the mint with your bare hands is amazingly fresh, the apple gives a pleasing crunch and as for the taste? This recipe has it all- that salty, sour taste from the tamarind, the hot spice from the chilli, the sweetness of the palm sugar. With the salad it lifts the whole traditional pork and apple sauce to a completely new level.
OK, up front, if you are on the no sugar bandwagon (and trust me, I am right there with you), you may not want to try this one- at least not if you are in the initial stages of your sugar detox. Any recipe that has “caramel” in the title will involve the use of something sugary- after all, that’s what caramel is.
Anyways, here is the recipe from my current favourite recipe book Hot Plate by the team from my all time favourite restaurant Spirit House (at Eumundi on the Sunshine Coast).
The Pork Part:
2 pork fillets (trim them of all the sinew and other bits). Tonight I’m using pork loin chops instead- I like to chew on the bones afterward- the caramelised bits are super yummy
100 mls of tamarind water (I use a hunk of tamarind paste soaked in boiling water and then strained through a fine sieve). You can buy tamarind paste though- just a tablespoon in water will do the trick.
200gms palm sugar (chopped. I use less than this- about half- mainly because I don’t eat a lot of sugar, so my palate really picks up the slightest sweetness.)
50mls fish sauce
25mls dark soy sauce (choose tamari if you want to keep it gluten free)
2 cloves garlic (peeled & crushed)
1 large red chilli (chopped)
zest and juice of 1 lime
Place the tamarind water, whisky, palm sugar, sauces, spices and lime zest (not the juice, not yet…) in a saucepan & bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until slightly syrupy (that’ll be the caramelly bit and should take about 5 minutes). Remove from heat, stir in the lime juice and set aside to cool.
Once the syrupy stuff has cooled, marinate the pork fillets in half of it while you get on with the salad. The rest will become a sauce for the cooked pork.
To cook the pork, heat the barbecue to medium and grill the fillets, turning regularly and basting with the marinade frequently. It will take about 20-25 minutes and will need resting for about 10 minutes. Oh, the chilli caramel marinade will make a mess of the Barbie…get over it.
Slice into medallions and transfer to serving platter (I used a wooden board) and pour over the re-heated sauce. Serve with apple salad on the side.
The Apple Salad Part
2 teaspoons palm sugar, chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 green apples, skin on a finely shredded (my hubby once tried to short cut this and grated the apples- the taste works, but it doesn’t look nearly as good and you lose the crunch…it goes sort of mushy…)
1 cup bean sprouts (topped and tailed)
3 spring onions (trimmed and finely sliced)
1 large chilli (de-seeded and finely sliced)
1 tablespoon ginger (peeled and finely shredded)
1 cup washed mint leaves.
Combine the lime juice and palm sugar and stir until it dissolves. Add the remaining ingredients and toss gently to mix.