The meat and fresh fruits combination in main dishes is something one finds in practically every cuisine. I love the idea especially when the sweetness of the fruits contrast so vividly with spicy meat. For some reason, spiciness is mellowed by sweetness and an otherwise very tempestuous and fiery dish becomes relaxed and more amiable even for those of us who don’t have a very high tolerance for the heat of chilies. I’ve done several meat-and-fruit dishes in the past but this dish is different because the fruits were pan-grilled to allow their natural sugars to caramelize before they were tossed with the meat. It’s amazing how such a simple and very basic step can enhance a dish.
Chili Pork With Pineapple and Bananas
- 150 grams pork (loin, shoulder or butt, or any other tender cut) or whatever other meat you prefer
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon grated garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 to 3 saba bananas ripe
- 1 cup fresh pineapple wedges
- 2 tablespoons vegetable cooking oil plus more for brushing the pan
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- cilantro to garnish
- 1 chili finely sliced, to garnish
- Thinly slice the pork. Place in a bowl and mix with the paprika, chili powder, garlic and salt. Set aside.
- Brush a heated non-stick pan very lightly with oil.
- Arrange the saba banana slices, cut side down, and cook over medium-high heat until nicely browned. Flip to brown the opposite side. Scoop out the bananas and transfer to a plate.
- Add the pineapple wedges to the hot pan (no need to add more oil) and brown them as well. Remove the pineapple wedges to a plate.
- Heat a wok. Pour in the two tablespoonfuls of vegetable oil and allow to reach smoking point.
- Stir fry the pork in hot oil for two to three minutes or until done.
- Add the sliced onion to the pork. Stir fry for another 30 seconds.
- Throw in the bananas and pineapple wedges. Sprinkle with salt. Toss. Drizzle in a few tablespoonfuls of water (so that nothing burns while waiting for the fruits to get heated through). Cook, stirring and tossing gently, until the mixture is steamy and everything is hot.
- Tip the contents of the wok onto a platter. Sprinkle cilantro and the sliced chili. Serve hot.