This is an easy dish to make and is a very attractive cold starter. It can be prepared a day ahead and benefits from it Ask your butcher to bone the pork loin and to cut off the skin, leaving a thin amount of fat on the meat The bones can be frozen for stock (pork bones are an essential ingredient in Chinese soup stock) and so can the skin for crackling.
Prepare the pork a day ahead of serving: heat a large saucepan two-thirds filled with lightly salted water.
When the water is boiling, add the pork, which should just be covered by the liquid (add more water if necessary). Bring back to the boil, lower the heat skim and simmer gently for 1 hour. Remove from the heat and leave the pork in the pan to cool in the stock.
While the pork is cooking, make the dressing: peel and finely chop the garlic. Clean and trim the spring onions and cut them into thin rounds. Halve the chilli lengthwise and deseed it.
Put all the dressing ingredients except the coriander in the mixing bowl and stir. The mixture will be quite spicy so take care the first time you make it that it is not too hot for your palate. You might like to try using half the chilli and chilli oil to begin with.
Once the pork is cool, drain it, wrap in cling film and refrigerate it and the dressing overnight.
The next day, about 30 minutes before serving, remove the pork and sauce from the fridge. Strip the coriander leaves from the stems, chop and add to the dressing. Unwrap the pork and slice into rounds as thinly as you can.
Arrange the slices of pork on the serving plate in overlapping slices starting in an outer circle, repeating with overlapping circles and moving inwards to cover the whole plate. Stir the dressing and drizzle about one-third of it over the pork, serving the rest separately. Eat with chopsticks.
© 1993 Alastair Little and Richard Whittington estate. All rights reserved.