Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Asian Pork and Aubergine Hotpot

Why is it that whenever we want ideas for a recipe we go straight to google?  We have probably 200 cookbooks at home (in a very small house) and we don't really make use of them.  The good thing about going to google though is that very often the kind of dish you are looking for is on the BBC Good Food website.  A favourite from the website became tea for the last 2 nights running.

Asian Pork and Aubergine Hotpot with Rice
Now there is not much point in me explaining the full details as I changed very little from the original recipe, so think of this more as a recipe review.  The full details can be found here.

The first time we made it Fran felt there was too much Star Anise so this time I just used 3 (but this is personal taste as I quite liked the aniseed kick).  We didn't have Muscavado sugar so used molasses instead.  Also, we chose pork shoulder steaks rather than pork belly which we have found to be too fatty in the past.

Here is how we did it:

Brown the meat in batches and put aside (I used a colander to lose some excess fat -but then used it anyway while cooking the aubergine!)

Brown the aubergine in batches (adding a little of the pork fat as above) and put aside

Heat up the sugar till beginning to caramelise and add the pork and aubergine and coat

Add the chopped ginger, chilli and onion and cook for a few minutes

Then add the star anise and cinnamon stick with a splash of fish sauce and coriander stalks (chopped)

Add water to about a third of the dish, cover and cook undisturbed for 1 hour (200c)

When ready to serve, add lime juice, some more fish sauce, chilli and coriander


One of the most important ingredients in this dish I think is the lime juice at the end - the flavours just dance in your mouth.  Also, although it needs about an hour to cook the pork, don't over-do it as the aubergine will become mushy.  The recipe says large chunks of aubergine - so you want to keep the shape if possible. 

Often with a stew it gets better if it is left for a while - we definitely found this as we had it two days in a row.  On the night we made it - it tasted great but had perhaps a little too much water (so be careful).  But left in the Le Creuset over night - the flavours really combined without over-cooking, the sauce thickened a little and then after heating on a medium temperature for 20 minutes was yummy the next day.  Perhaps this dish would work better if cooked in the morning - left to settle then re-heated in the evening (just a thought).

Anyway - we love this recipe - the proportions made 5 good sized helpings and will freeze.  Plus this is Gluten-Free so happy days!

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