Many years ago, when Loraine and I traveled a lot, we had pork chops in a Chinese restaurant in Los Angeles, CA. that were somewhat unique and extremely good. Of course the next time we were in L.A., we went to the restaurant only to find that it was under new management and the pork chops weren't even on the menu anymore.
Since then we have tried a lot of Chinese pork chops but none matched the pork chops from that original L.A. Chinese restaurant. So, a few years ago we started experimenting to see if we could recreate the pork chop recipe that we loved so much.
As we remember, and not forgetting that we are getting old and are memories are not what they used to be, we believe that we have created the flavor of the original dish. I would point out that we do remember that the original dish was made with bone-in pork chops (makes it look like you are getting more for your money). We use boneless center cut pork chops which we flatten and tenderize.
Other than making Chinese fried rice and barbecued pork this was our first real foray into North American style Chinese food. We had been very pleased with one of our local Chinese takeaway restaurants, but, about 18 months ago they sold the business and the new management changed the quality and flavorings used to prepare the dishes. Since then we have tried numerous other Chinese takeaway restaurants but we were unable to find one that made the dishes to our liking.
After a lot of searching on the Internet including YouTube we decided to modify and combine a number of Cantonese Chow Mein recipes. We expected that we would have to refine the recipe before it would be a great dish, however to our surprise it was perfect and we wouldn't change anything. As far as we are concerned it is the best Cantonese Chow Mein meal we have ever had!
The flavor of this barbecued pork is truly delicious and if you are the one assigned to slicing it after it's cooked it is very difficult not to start nibbling on it while you slice (just to make sure that it tastes okay to serve)!
Chinese barbecued pork is a dish unto itself, but it is also a very important part of a number of other Chinese food recipes. We use it in our Chinese Barbecued Pork Fried Rice, Chinese Wonton Soup and sometimes we use in our Cantonese Chow Mein rather than using a stir-fried pork.
It is extremely versatile. The barbecued pork can be served hot or at room temperature and I find it makes for a great snack, rather than nibbling on potato chips or other packaged snack foods.
Do not confuse this fried rice recipe with anything that you have ever had before!
The basic fried rice recipe comes from a Chinese "Master Chef" who, at the time, was working at one of the best Chinese restaurants in Japan. It is different from what one might consider to be a standard North American fried rice recipe in three areas. The first is that it uses freshly cooked rice, that has been allowed to sit for a few minutes, rather than day old cold rice. Second, the egg is not fried separately and then added to the fried rice, rather the raw egg is mixed into the rice before it is stir-fried. This keeps the grains of rice from clumping together when they are stir-fried. The third point is that the egg coated rice is stir-fried without the use of any oil.
Chinese chicken broth is quite different from what westerner's make as chicken broth. To start with Chinese chicken broth is made from a whole chicken not just a bunch of chicken bones. The only additional ingredients added to the pot with the whole chicken, are a few scallions and a couple of small pieces of ginger.
There are many recipes for Chinese chicken broth and the only variables are the cooking time and amount of water.
This was our first attempt at a Chinese chicken and pineapple stir fry and it was quite good. We used what we had learned when we made the Cantonese Chow Mein a few weeks ago.
I would like to point out that the quantities of ingredients are not something that you have to follow and everybody who wants to cook should learn how to judge the ingredient quantities based on their likes and dislikes. If there is an ingredient that you don't particularly care for don't use it and if there is an ingredient that is commonly used but not included add it. If you really like an ingredient add more.
The base for almost all Chinese dumpling sauces are equal parts Chinese soy sauce and rice vinegar. To that some individuals will add small amounts of other ingredients so that they can call it their very own dumpling sauce creation. These additions can include; chopped garlic, ginger, cilantro, honey, chili sauce, chili oil, sesame oil and white pepper. Others will use Chinkiang vinegar, as a substitute for the basic rice vinegar. Chinkiang is a dark complex vinegar made of glutinous rice and malt. Still others may add sugar, combinations of dark and light soy sauce, chicken stock, green onion.
In our quest to make better tasting than a restaurant Chinese food, we have honed this recipe for Chinese pork loin chops and broccoli.
It is a light meal served on its own and could be a much more substantial meal if steamed or fried rice was added as a side.
It is quite amazing how much flavor is added to the meal with the addition of the three sliced Chinese black mushrooms. I can't think of anything that could be used as a substitute. We get them from our local Chinese supermarket.
Chinese soups are generally very subtle in flavor. This starts with the chicken broth which is one of the simplest broths ever made and when completed has only the small flavor and nose of a chicken, it is only after you choose the soup you are making and add some seasoning, especially salt, does the chicken broth come to life, yet it is still very subtle in its overall flavor.
The chicken broth is the medium for creativity. To the chicken broth in this soup we are adding homemade wontons, baby bok choy and Chinese barbecued pork slices.