And so we enter the second half of 2014. We’re a little closer to December and the weather that I adore and wish we had all year ’round. That’s what I try to focus on when I get freaked out by the fickle weather we have these days — raining one moment and the sun shining like it’s still summer the next. I’ve stopped checking weather forecasts long ago — who needs predictions from those titled crystal ball gazers?
To celebrate the first day of the second half of the year, we had a very meaty lunch. Speedy’s favorite — pork. Skinless pork shoulder cut into chunks, seasoned, tossed with a little starch, deep fried then tossed with a sauce made with honey and balsamic vinegar. It’s essentially sweet and sour pork but using balsamic vinegar for the sour component gave the dish a more nuanced finish. It’s not a saucy, drippy dish either — the amount of honey-balsamic mixture is just enough to glaze the meat.
For tips on frying, see The ultimate fried chicken, part 2. The principles are the same; you’re just cooking pork and not chicken.
Crispy pork chunks with honey-balsamic sauce
- 350 to 400 grams skinless pork shoulder (with a good marbling of fat), cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 tablespoons tapioca starch or potato or corn starch
- enough cooking oil to deep fry the pork chunks in a single batch
- 1 bell pepper diced
- 1 onion diced
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- black sesame seeds to garnish (optional)
Place the pork chunks in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix well.
Start heating the cooking oil in a frying pan or wok.
When the oil is hot, toss the seasoned pork with the starch to coat each piece.
Drop the pork chunks one by one into the hot oil. Cook until browned and cooked through, flipping the pieces halfway through, if not totally submerged in oil, for even cooking.
Pour off the oil from the pan leaving only about half a teaspoonful.
Reheat the oil and throw in the diced bell pepper and onion. Cook, stirring, for about half a minute.
Return the cooked pork chunks to the pan and cook, stirring, just until heated through.
Pour in the honey-balsamic mixture. Toss to distribute evenly.
Tip the contents of the pan onto a serving platter. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using. Serve immediately.