Chinese Roast Pork
This easy to make, can’t fail meal combines a variety of Chinese seasonings with tender, delicious pork, and will provide you with several meals including an entirely different recipe for the leftovers which I’ll present eventually in a sequel to this article.
Start with a boneless pork roast between 600 and 1500 g. Any cut will do: shoulder, loin, or filet, which is what I’m using here. In some areas, all you may be able to get is a “rolled roast” tied up with string. This will work, but it’s a bit messier to prepare. Don’t remove the string until you’re done cooking.
In a glass casserole dish comfortably larger than the hunk of pork, mix a marinade of the following ingredients.
Don’t worry about the the precise quantities of these ingredients. I’ve been making this recipe for many years and I just throw in a generous splash of soy sauce, and a dollop of all the rest. I use “tbsp” (tablespoon) to mean 15 ml and “tsp” (teaspoon) for 5 ml. If you’re missing one or two ingredients, don’t sweat it—the result will be a bit different but still delicious.
Mix all the ingredients well with a spoon, then place the pork roast in the marinade and turn it using two forks so that every side including the edges is well covered by marinade. Now spoon some marinade on top of the roast and punch it into the meat at numerous locations. This tenderises the meat and flavours the interior. Turn and repeat on all sides, including the edges.
Peel a medium-sized onion, cut in half, and place the two halves on the top of the roast. Cover the casserole and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours to marinate—overnight is just fine. When you cook the roast, the onion halves will cook down and further season the meat.
Half an hour before you’re ready to start cooking, remove the casserole
from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Preheat
the oven to 220° C in
circulating air mode
if available. When the oven is at temperature, place the covered
casserole in the middle of the oven. Make sure the lid fits
well—otherwise the roast will dry out. (This is about the only thing
that can go wrong with the recipe.)
Leave in the oven for 75 minutes. As you approach the end of the cooking time, make white rice the Fourmilab can’t fail way: take the desired quantity of just about any kind of rice (but not “wild rice”, which is actually grass seed), around ⅓ to ½ cup per person (I use “cup” to mean 250 ml), and place in a saucepan. Add twice the volume of cold water as rice and, if you like, a little salt. Stir the rice and water to sink any “floaters” then turn on the highest heat setting and wait until the water is boiling vigorously. Turn down the heat to the lowest setting (“simmer”) and cover the pan. Then do absolutely nothing for 15 minutes, at the end of which all of the water will have been absorbed and the rice will be perfect.
While the rice is cooking, slice two medium-sized green onions per
person into a bowl.
When everything is done, remove the roast from the oven, place servings of rice into bowls, top with slices of pork and season with the liquid you’ll find at the bottom of the casserole, which will be a blend of the marinade and juice from the roast and onions. (Use a baster to transfer it from the casserole to bowls.) At the table, garnish with the slices of green onion. You will be amazed at how tender the pork is; you can usually cut it with the edge of your fork.
You will doubtless have lots of left-over pork. You can simply let the casserole cool to room temperature and place the covered casserole in the frigo. For a meal of left-overs, just make more rice and sliced onions, cut slices from the roast and microwave for one to two minutes, and you’re ready to eat. But there’s a more creative way to use the left-overs to make a completely different Chinese dish—I’ll describe that in the sequel.
When it’s time to clean up the casserole dish, which will have dark baked-on cruft from the marinade (mostly due to carbonisation of sugar in the hoisin sauce), the best approach is to fill it with a mix of hot water and dish detergent and then let it soak for several hours. You should then be able to make quick work of the mess with a stainless steel scrubber, after which the dish grinder will finish the job.