Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Cassia-smoked pork for Chinese New Year

Kung hei fat choy! To welcome the Year of the Horse, we'd decided to make a sort of Chinese meal. Which ended up turning out so well I thought it was worthy of sharing.

We'd done another lunchtime barbecue (sausages), and since we already had the charcoal going we decided to do the cha siu pork for dinner at the same time. It was pork shoulder steaks, not the tenderloin we'd normally use, and it had been marinading for an hour or so in garlic, soy and a bit of sugar and bicarbonate of soda. I don't know what the bicarb does but the recipe that uses it has always worked well for me.

Just before the meat went on the grill I had an inspiration - what if we used some sticks of cassia bark as the smoking wood? You see, we bought a HUGE bag of cassia at a Chinese supermarket last year, so we're in a position to be profligate with it. So we just fed chunks of cassia onto the hot coals, and covered the barbecue to let the meat smoke. The smell was wonderful - really pungently spicy.

Then we just let the meat cool until dinner time, while we ate our sausages.
I made noodles in a sesame dressing, stirfried a pile of veg with chilli, garlic and soy sauce, and then just sliced some of the pork on top. Because the noodles and vegetables were hot, the fact that the meat was at room temperature was hardly noticeable. The smoke flavour was subtle but there was a definite spiciness to it, almost like the tingling flavour from Szechuan pepper.

The following day, of course, we had leftover pork for lunch. I made some not-entirely-successful steamed buns (recipe said steam for 15 minutes, these steamed for 55 minutes and weren't quite as done as I like. A woman could have starved). I split the buns, spread them with hoi sin sauce and a bit of cucumber and spring onion, and the warmed-through pork. You can see the smoke-ring on the slices. Such a delicious sandwich! And it will be even better when I get the steamed buns right.
I'm going to share these sandwiches with Deb, for her Souper (soup, salad and sammie) Sunday event.
SouperSundays

8 comments:

Alexandra Stafford said...

I've been dying to make steamed pork buns! Glad you didn't starve :) I made David Chang's ginger scallion sauce with ramen, but I don't think I have the recipe quite down yet. Your Chinese New Year meal looks delish!

Cuisine de Provence said...

I am getting hunger pangs just loking at your sandwich!

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

I love what you did with the cassia bark, what a great idea! The pork sounds absolutely delicious.

Kavey said...

Pork looks fabulous and love the idea to use cassia for smoking!

grace said...

standing ovation for you--using the bark was a stroke of genius!

Joanne said...

The cassia with the meat is interesting! Definitely a new year's worthy pairing.

Rachel said...

Gung Hay Fat Choy! The baking soda addition seems interesting. Is it for tenderizing the meat? Everything looks really delicious.

Deb in Hawaii said...

That pork looks so succulent and perfect for the yummy little sandwiches. Thanks so much for sharing with Souper Sundays this week! ;-)

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