Friday, February 25, 2011

A Balanced Meal

     Today, it took me a very long time to get around to eating. I mean, of course I ate my Fruits and Cream Quaker Oats Oatmeal this morning before class. I promise I'm not an ad, it is just actually what I eat every morning because it is the deliciousest fast breakfast there is. Anyway, of course I ate that. But between having class till 1 and then getting caught in a torrential downpour and having to seek shelter in a friend's house, I did not get around to cooking till 3:30. And then, I decided to cook something that would take an hour and a half. Why? Because I knew it would be worth it. (And I still had some peanut butter bar to eat..)

     It was pork. Do you know that bright red roast pork you get at Chinese take-out restaurants? It was that pork. Just, not bright red because that beautiful color comes from....guess what? Food Coloring. Of course, it would. Also, my pork was not exactly authentic Chinese because it was Yakibuta, the Japanese version of the Chinese Char Siu, from a recipe I found on the lovely site Just Hungry. And, I was all prepared to make this great dish! Last night before work, I filled a bowl full of marinade and dumped the pork in. So, all I needed to do was stick it in the oven, and it would be done. 

     Was it really as simple as that? A bowl of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and a star anise, and then just turning on the oven the next day? Yes, yes it was. This is why I love the oven, you can put things in and not worry about them and then suddenly you have a plate of lovely food! Well, I had some intermediate steps of course. To make sure my meal made up for my previous lack of meals, I made rice and bok choy as well. The bok choy was easy. It was just a version of the bok choy I made previously without the garlic, with a little extra ginger, and with some shitake mushrooms thrown in before I started cooking the bok choy. 

     I love my meals nowadays. The pork was ridiculously moist and tender, with that subtle taste of sweetness which I can't seem to find an adjective for except Asian, and that is utterly unworthy of this marinade. I started boiling down the marinade at a low simmer once I put the pork in the oven, and then I used some of it as a sauce for my rice. It was delicious. With the bok choy, finally making me feel a little healthy, this was just a perfect little meal.

Japanese-style Chinese Pork 
Adapted from Just Hungry

1/2 lb Pork Shoulder 
3/4 cup Soy Sauce 
1/2 cup Water 
1 Star Anise
1/4 tsp Ginger Powder (or a small chunk Fresh Ginger) 
1 Garlic Clove, Minced 
1 tsp Sugar

Trim the skin and excess fat off the sides of the piece of pork. Place it in a medium bowl, add the soy sauce, and then enough of the water to fully cover the pork. Add the star anise, ginger powder, and garlic clove and mix it in the soy sauce. Turn the pork a couple of times to make sure it is properly covered. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and place it in the fridge overnight or for at least three hours. When you are ready to cook the pork, pre-heat the oven to 280 degrees. Sprinkle both sides of the pork with sugar. Then, place it in a baking dish with about 1 cm of water. Bake it for about an hour and a half, turning the pork over every half an hour, until you can stick a knife in it and the juices run clear (not red). 


You may have to add more water after an hour or so to keep it at 1 cm. 

I cut the pork into slices to serve. Feel free to cut it into cubes, or small strips, in order to put it in rice, noodles, salad, or whatever else your heart desires. You can also cut it up and then freeze it to have it for later!

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