10 A.M. I was browsing though the May issue of Bon Appetit magazine looking for some inspiration for dinner later that night. The husband is having a busy week and I really wanted to cook him something nice to cheer him up when he gets home. A recipe caught my eye. Curry and coconut milk grilled pork skewers. I’m Singaporean so coconut milk isn’t an exotic ingredient. But wait…condensed milk? In a savory dish? Up till now I have only used condensed milk in my daily cup of Milo.That piqued my curiosity. I scanned through the list of ingredients – good. I have everything listed there, except for the cut of meat specified. The recipe asked for 1 1/2 lb of boneless pork shoulder and all I had in my freezer was the same amount of thick-cut pork chops. Maybe that will work.
Hmm..skewered meat..I’m reminded of tasty pork Satay I used to eat all the time in Singapore..But it’s 40F/8 deg celsius here and I really don’t want to be standing in the cold, grilling so many sticks of skewered meat. I decided to cut my thick pork chops into 1-inch thick cubes and grill them over the stove on the pan. Why cubes and not slices? Hmm..because the pork chops look so nice and thick and I really want to have some meat to bite and chew into. So I set about preparing the marinade and really massaged it into the pork as directed in the recipe and left them in the fridge for about 4 hours. Would have loved to leave them in the marinade overnight but due to lack of planning, I had to make do.
Now, I was really excited about cooking them. The marinade was a delicious salty, sweet, peppery concoction and I can’t wait to taste how the pork will go with it. After using enough to marinade the pork I had, there was still about a cup of marinade left. It seemed such a waste to throw something so yummy away and so I had an idea: why not use the marinade as a sauce too and smother those nicely pan-grilled pork cubes with it?
I pan-fried the pork cubes in small batches, turning them so that the sides are all nicely browned but still with a slight pink in the center, and set them aside. It does take some effort, standing by the pan, turning them only when each side has turned golden brown. But it was worth the effort (and hey, at least i’m not out in the cold by the grill!) They already taste good in that state and is ready for the dinner table, but it seems such a shame to throw that nice sweetened condensed milk mixture away and I really wanted to make a sauce out of it. I poured the unused marinade into the saucepan and added about half a table-spoon of corn flour to thicken it (make sure you dissolve them in a little bit of water or you will end up with little lumps of corn flour). Just to make sure it actually works, I put a few pieces of pork into the sauce and tried a few mouthfuls. Okay. It works! It’s like some sort of sweet pork curry. I put all of the pork cubes into the pot, stir them well such that they are all covered with the sauce, put the cover on, and let it simmer for a quick 2 min to thoroughly warm them up and make sure any uncooked meat in the first part of cooking is now thoroughly cooked.
And here it is, my Curry-and-coconut-milk pan-fried pork cubes with sauce, served on top of piping hot white rice. 🙂
(Minor adaptations from the Curry-and-coconut-milk-grilled pork skewers in May 2015 issue of Bon Appetit Magazine. Original recipe here: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/curry-and-coconut-milk-grilled-pork-skewers)
Half a can of coconut cream or 1 can of unsweetened coconut milk
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp ground white pepper. (you can add more. I did.)
1 tsp curry powder. (you can add more. Again, i did.)
1/2 tsp ground tumeric.
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk.
1 pack of 6 thick cut pork chops, cut into 1-inch cubes.
Bring everything, except the pork and condensed milk, to a boil in a sauce pan, mixing everything well. Remove from fire, let it cool slightly then stir in condensed milk. Pour enough of the mixture to marinade the pork. Cover and chill for at least an hour. I chilled mine for 4.
Pan-fry pork in small batches, turning them when each side turns golden brown. If you are worried that they may be under-cooked, take one or two and cut into them. They should still have a very very slight pink in the center. Put fried pork aside. Pour in the unused marinade into a large sauce pan which has a cover. Let it come to a simmer. Add in 1/2 to 1 tbsp of corn flour depending on how much liquid you have to thicken it. When the liquid has thicken, pour your pork cubes in. Stir to cover them in sauce, cover the saucepan and let it simmer for just a couple of minutes. Serve with hot white rice.