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Feb 02 – Chilli Caramelised Pork loin with Green Apple salad


While I was in Australia over Christmas I went to stay with some very good friends of mine on the Sunshine Coast near Yandina QLD. I took the opportunity to do a one of the cooking school classes at the infamous Spirithouse and this dish was one of the most gorgeous. As I need to continue to use my dried Chilli’s I went for Burmese Red Chilli’s.1506418_10151861381317414_873018966_n

No idea of exactly how powerful these little babies are yet but suffice to say I dropped them in warm water to hydrate and have managed to touch my face with my hands, and it already feels after 15 minutes like I got sunburned today. Which as I am in London is very unlikely!

Now before we start I have a tip for you and cmon any good chef worth their salt lives by this. Life is not about blindly following the recipe for letter it is all about you tasting the balance and deciding for yourself if it has the right balance. Tip: The quantities with any Thai food are always a guideline. The basis of any Thai food is Salty, Sweet, Sour and bitter and if you taste the key ingredients you will notice that they follow these laws. Tamarind water is bitter, Lime is sour and fish sauce and Soya sauce are the salt. If the dish has the right balance you should initial taste salt then sourness then sweetness and finally bitterness. Play around with this as you will be surprised what a difference a very little amount of one of these ingredients can make to the final ‘balanced’ tasted of the dish.

Chilli Caramel Pork Loin with Green Apple salad:

The Pork Part:

2 pork fillets (trim them of all the sinew and other bits).
100 mls of tamarind water (I use a hunk of tamarind paste soaked in boiling water and then strained through a fine sieve). You can buy tamarind paste though- just a tablespoon in water will do the trick.
30mls whisky
200gms palm sugar
50mls fish sauce
25mls dark soy sauce
2 cloves garlic (peeled & crushed)
1 large red chilli (in my case I went for 3 dried Burmese red Chilli’s)
Zest and juice of 1 lime

Place the tamarind water, whisky, palm sugar, sauces, spices and lime zest (not the juice, not yet…) in a saucepan & bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until slightly syrupy ( about 5 minutes).  Remove from heat, stir in the lime juice and set aside to cool. Once the syrupy marinade has cooled, marinate the pork fillets in half of it while you get on with the salad. The rest will become a sauce for the cooked pork.

To cook the pork, heat the barbecue to medium and grill the fillets, turning regularly and basting with the marinade frequently. It will take about 20-25 minutes and will need resting for about 10 minutes.

Yes the chilli caramel marinade will make a mess of the Barbie…get over it. Or you can buy yourself a silicon matt for your BBQ(Spirithouse trick) the beauty of this is not only is it easy to clean but also the marinade does not drop through to to the coals so you keep it on the pork.

Caramelised Pork

While all this is happening you might as well make the Green Apple Salad too!

Green Apple Salad with mint
2 teaspoons palm sugar, chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 green apples, skin on a finely shredded
1 cup bean sprouts (topped and tailed)
3 spring onions (trimmed and finely sliced)
1 large chilli (de-seeded and finely sliced)
1 tablespoon ginger (peeled and finely shredded)
1 cup washed mint leaves.

Combine the lime juice and palm sugar and stir until it dissolves. Add the remaining ingredients and toss gently to mix.

Green Apple Salad

To Serve:
Slice into medallions and transfer to serving platter. Pour over the re-heated sauce. Serve with apple salad on the side.

Chilli Caramelised Pork with Green Apple Salad

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