Oriental Pork Chops with Chinese Pickled Salad

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This is a delicious recipe that fuses a few ingredients of the Orient: nam pla (pungent fish sauce used predominantly in Thai and Vietnamese cuisine), mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine) and light soy sauce (common to Chinese and Japanese cooking). The result is a subtle but wonderful happening of fishy, salty, sour, spicy, sweet flavors all at once. It reminds me of the delightful Sichuan-Chinese style of cooking that often fuses all these taste sensations. I hope this is one dish that will become a firm household favorite and, if you don’t eat pork, use a firm-fleshed fish such as cod or halibut instead.

Preparation time: 10 minutes plus marinating
Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 x 12 oz pork loin
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Marinade

  • 2-3 large red chilies, seeded and chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Chinese Pickled Salad

Method

  1. Whizz together all the marinade ingredients in a blender. Season the pork loin with salt and pepper. Pour the marinade into a ziplock bag with the pork loins and marinate for as long as possible, ideally overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
  3. Place the pork in a roasting pan with a few spoonfuls of the marinade. Cook in the oven for 25 minutes.
  4. Make the Pickled Salad and mix well to allow the sauce to pickle the vegetables.
  5. Pour the remaining marinade into a small pan and heat.
  6. To serve, invert a bowlful of steamed rice onto the center of the plate, dress with pickle salad, place the pork loin on top and drizzle over the fragrant sauce.