Chinese-style 'Chop-Pot'

Serves: 2
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours

Description

With quick-pickled cucumbers

Sweet, sticky and just the right amount of salty. A beauty of a slow-cooked dish to get the most out of delicious pork chine chops - bone and fat as well as meltingly tender flesh. You’ll need a decent casserole dish, tagine or claypot for this recipe - something thick and sturdy with a lid that can, ideally, go straight from hob to oven.

When we say the cucumbers are quick-pickled, they’re not exactly instant, but they are ready in less than an hour - much less than the several weeks it takes to make proper pickles, and just the ticket for cutting through this rich dish.

Method

1. Heat the oven to 160°C.

2. Slice the ginger into thin matchsticks.

3. Heat the casserole dish over a medium heat and add the oil or lard. Add the ginger, garlic and shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes, until they start to colour ever-so-slightly and smell sweet. Add the chilli flakes and star anise and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. 

4. Add the soy sauce, shaoxing wine, honey, stock and stir well to combine, simmer to reduce by roughly a quarter. 

5. Add the pork chops, ensuring that the chops are just submerged - add a little extra stock or water if required. Add the lid, place in the oven and bake for 90 minutes, carefully turning the meat occasionally. 

6. While the meat is cooking, pickle the cucumbers. Cut the cucumber in half then use a vegetable peeler to create ribbons, turning the cucumber so that you leave behind the watery seeds in the middle, which can be discarded. Sprinkle the salt over the cucumber and mix briefly with your hands, then leave to drain in a colander for 15 minutes.

7. Heat the white wine vinegar to a gentle simmer, add the sugar and mustard seeds, stir until dissolved then decant into a bowl and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Pat the cucumber dry with kitchen towel then add to the bowl and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

8. When the meat has been cooking for 90 minutes, remove the lid and bake for a final 30 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

9. When you’re ready to serve, drain the cucumbers and discard the pickling liquor. Serve the chops on top of cooked white rice garnished with the cucumbers, toasted sesame seeds and chopped spring onions.  
 

Ingredients

For the hot pot
Thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled
1 tbsp vegetable oil or lard
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
2-4 banana shallots (around 130g), peeled and finely sliced
4 spring onions, trimmed of outer leaves, cut into 4cm batons
½ tsp chilli flakes
2 star anise
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp hoisin 
3 tbsp shaoxing wine
3 tbsp honey
300ml chicken stock or water
4 pork chine chops 
 
For the quick-pickled cucumbers
1 cucumber
1 tsp fine salt
200ml white wine vinegar tbsp 
70g caster sugar
1 tsp mustard seeds
 
Garnish
1 tsp white sesame seeds, toasted in a hot, dry pan until golden brown
1 spring onion, finely sliced
Boiled or steamed white rice to serve