So for those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I’ve started to record what I’m cooking for supper every night on my Instagram stories. Are you guys interested in those stories? I started doing them because one of my favourite bloggers ( A Bowl Full of Lemons ) started showing what she was making for dinner every night and I always look forward to watching her stories every day.
There are just a couple issues with my Instagram stories: 1) I am still not comfortable with talking on my stories. It just seems so weird! I mean, I follow a whole bunch of bloggers who literally narrate their entire day on Instagram stories, and although I like watching them, I think it’s kind of narcissistic and weird. Can you imagine walking around the city or a store and seeing someone talking to their phone to people they can’t see and don’t know? So yeah, I’m still not that comfortable with narrating my cooking yet, but maybe one day. 2) Secondly, after documenting the cooking and the food on Instagram stories, I sometimes forget to take an actual nice picture (not on my phone) to feature on the blog! Which is what happened here for this Asian pork tenderloin – I captured a picture of the dish for Instagram stories, but then I added some text to it and so I can’t really use it as a photo on this blog! I mean, by the time I’m finished cooking and snapping pictures of the meal, my husband and I are starving and we just want to eat all the deliciousness. I never understand how some foodbloggers can stage and flatlay their cooking process and the finished product so beautifully….that must add so much time to the cooking process. And do they even eat the food that is presented and staged? It must be cold after everything is perfectly captured on camera. Anyways, I’ll post this recipe here today and then add pictures later. I make this pork tenderloin at least once a week, so I’ll have plenty of opportunities to take a blog photo next time.
On my Instagram stories last night, you would have seen that I served this pork tenderloin with some steamed jasmine rice and sliced cucumbers. Sliced cucumbers dipped in soy sauce was something that my mom served as a side a lot when we were younger and I just love it! I always have cucumbers on hand, and it makes such an easy side dish when I don’t have time or energy to stirfry or prepare another type of vegetable. The combination of cold crisp cucumbers dipped in the salty soy sauce is my favourite!
Oh, and just a heads up – the high sugar content of the hoisin sauce in this recipe, combined with the high temperature of cooking will make a mess of your baking dish! But it’s worth the extra soaking time, I promise!
I think I’ve said it before but I’ve always been doubtful of slow cooker meals, especially batch cooking in slow cookers. I find that they are usually lacking in flavour and/or texture that can only be achieved by more ‘proper’ cooking methods. I mean, I’ve posted a slow cooker apple cinnamon oatmeal recipe before, but I will admit that I don’t make that recipe anymore. Now that my baby is old enough to play on her own and/or sit and watch me make breakfast for a decent amount of time, I prefer to make individual servings of my morning oatmeal on the stove. However, my sister recently shared with me that she makes ribs in her slow cooker. The secret to her recipe is that she makes her own dry rub for the ribs, and then does not add any additional liquids to the slow cooker – she lets the ribs release and cook in their own juices. If you look up other slow cooker rib recipes, you’ll find that almost all of them tell you to add some sort of liquid to the slow cooker (root beer, water, stock, etc). If you add liquid to the slow cooker, you’re going to get soggy ribs and diluted flavours!
Easy dry rub for the ribs
I gave this recipe a try, and I will admit that this is probably my favourite slow cooker recipe. I like the fact that I can put the ribs in the slow cooker and not worry about it for 6 whole hours. The meat literally falls off the bones, the flavour is strong, and when paired with a quick salad, it makes for a super easy meal. I’ve made this probably half a dozen times already, tweaking the dry rub recipe each and every time and I think I’ve finally got it perfect (thank god, because I think the husband was getting tired of ribs, Caesar salad and potatoes for supper every other day!). I buy the pork back ribs from Co-op and I can usually find a decent sized rack of ribs for around $20.
I haven’t found a wine pairing for these ribs yet. The ribs have a pretty strong flavour due to the dry rub, so I think your best bet will be a cold light beer with this one!
Mix together the dry rub spices in a small bowl and set aside.
Cut the rack into portions of six ribs.
Rub the dry rub on the ribs with your hands, evenly on both sides of the ribs.
Grease your slow cooker (I just use a little olive oil and coat the slow cooker with a paper towel), and arrange the ribs in the slow cooker standing up on their rib ends (the thicker end of the bone on the bottom) with the meaty side facing out. It's okay if the some of the racks overlap one another if you have a small slow cooker.
Cook on high for six hours.
After six hours, line a baking tray with aluminum foil and place the ribs with the meaty side facing up on the tray. Baste with your choice of BBQ sauce and broil in the oven until caramelized (about 5-7 minutes). Careful not to burn them!
Vietnamese meat dishes often have similar flavour profiles, and those intricate flavour profiles are often derived from expert seasoning and extended marinating times. This particular dish is my favourite because the flavours are in the same family as the Vietnamese Braised Pork and Eggs and the Lemongrass Grilled Pork recipes that I’ve posted before, but it does not require marinating time for the pork.
This recipe literally takes 15 minutes to prep and cook, and at 35 weeks pregnant, that is a huge blessing to me. My pregnant belly is in the way now, so I can’t stand close to the counter to comfortably prep ingredients. Standing for extended periods of time puts pressure and pain on my back and hips. Bending down to grab pots and pans and reaching up to grab plates or ingredients also introduce various types of pain. However, we still need to eat so I still need to cook, but I’ve been leaning towards two types of recipes lately – 1) recipes that take less than 15 minutes to prep and cook like this one or 2) ones that take some prep time but then I can leave on the stove to simmer for an hour or more while I take a nap, like my Irish Beef stew recipe. (I love naps!)
This recipe has a slight spicy kick to it, due to the red Asian chili pepper (I buy the little packets of red peppers at Ngoy Hoa, the Asian grocery store in Regina) and the Sriracha sauce. I recommend pairing it with a cold light beer. If you want to stick to the Asian theme, then try Tsingtao or Sapporo. Otherwise, just pair it with a Bud Light like my husband does. If you’re a wine drinker, spicy Asian dishes often pair well with a chilled sweet German Riesling. I don’t have any specific recommendations right now, but I will once I can drink again so stay tuned!
Serve with some hot fluffy jasmine rice and enjoy. Green onions would make a better tasting and better looking garnish, but I didn’t have any at home when I made this so I garnished with thinly sliced red onions as you can see in my pictures.
If anyone tries it with wine, please let me know what your recommendations are!
1 lb pork, cubed into 1-inch pieces (I just buy any lean cut of pork that is on sale and cube it up, usually a pork roast of some kind)
2 shallots, minced
1 tbsp ginger, either finely grated or finely minced
1 red Asian chili pepper, deseeded and finely minced
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp and 1 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp Sriracha chili sauce
Some green onions, diced, for garnish.
Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan over high heat and stirfry the pork until browned on all sides. This usually takes 5-6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to preserve the oil and juices in the pan and set the pork aside.
Turn the heat down to low and add the shallots, ginger and chili pepper. Cook for 2 minutes until they start to soften up. Add the sugar, 1 tbsp fish sauce and 1/2 cup water to the pan and stir everything together.
Bring to a boil, stirring, so the sugar dissolves, then return the pork to the pan.
Let it simmer at a low rolling boil for 10 minutes until the sauce thickens and coats the meat. Watch your stove temperature here - it doesn't need to be on high for it to be at a low rolling boil. I find that medium or medium low is enough to have the sauce bubbling consistently. If you leave your temperature on high, the sugar will burn and scorch.
Add in 1 tsp fish sauce and the 2 tsp of Sriracha and give it a final stir before removing it from the heat.
Sprinkle some green onions on top for garnish and serve with jasmine rice.