Cooking: HK cafe style Pork Chops with Onion Sauce


So there’s kinduva a story behind this one.
There’s a Hong Kong style cafe in Chinatown called “The Boss”. For the uninitiated, HK cafes are the Hong Kong equivalent of a diner, serving simple dishes of both Cantonese and North American origin. Generally speaking, even the dishes of North American origin have a distinctly Cantonese character to them, and not always to positive effect (hello….. you do NOT make pasta with Campbell’s Tomato Soup).

But I digress, while there are probably a hundred or more HK style Cafes in town, “The Boss” had one dish that no one else could match, and that was their Pork Chops with Onion Sauce.

It was a seared pork chop, tender to the bite, with a hint of five spice powder, in a lightly sweet onion sauce, served over rice.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, The Boss changed the recipe and their dish has never been the same.

We’ve spent years tying other HK cafes, searching for a replacement, to no avail.

So why not try myself.

This is my first documented attempt.

First consideration was how to tenderize the pork. I’ve used meat tenderizer before, to no appreciable result. Then I recalled that many chinese restaurant cooks use baking soda.  So I gave it a try. I sprinkled a pinch of baking soda on each side of the pork chop and let it rest for about 20 minutes.

Then I washed the pork chops off under running water to remove the baking powder, then marinated the pork in soy, sugar and crushed ginger for about 30 minutes.

I fried up some chopped onions in a frying pan over low heat until they started to carmelize. Once there, I removed the onions from the pan and set them aside. Then I deglazed the frying pan with chicken stock, and left it to simmer and reduce over low heat.

After 30 minutes, I removed the pork and drained off the marinade, dredged it in flour that was dusted with five spice powder.

Then, I pan-fried the pork chop on medium heat for about 2 minutes on each side, then plated it.
I layered the carmelized onions over top, and then poured the chicken stock reduction over everything.  Serving with a little white rice and veg.

All thing considered, this was a mixed success.

The pork chop had about the right tenderness and flavor, but I didn’t sufficiently drain the marinade. It was still quite damp when I dredged it in flour, leaving a pasty coating, instead of a dry one.

The onion sauce was okay, not quite what I remember, but certainly not bad.  I think I need to reduce it a bit more, to concentrate the flavor.


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