Nonya Spiced Pork
This dish hails from Singapore and has been very popular amongst the Chinese. The fruity sourness of tamarind is offset by sugar in this richly flavored pork dish.
- 1½ lb shoulder pork, in ½-inch slices, cut into 1-inch squares
- 8 dried chilies, cut into ¾-inch lengths, soaked to soften
- 8-10 shallots, chopped
- 4 candlenuts, crushed (if unavailable use cashew or macadamia nuts, 2 each for every candlenut)
- 1 tsp dried shrimp paste
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- ½-1 tsp salt
- 1 heaped Tbsp tamarind pulp, soaked in ¼ cup warm water, squeezed and drained for juice
- 1 cup water
- Discard some of the chilli seeds to reduce the spiciness, if preferred, then process the chilies, shallots, candlenuts and shrimp paste until finely ground, adding a little oil if required to keep the blades turning.
- Heat oil in a wok or deep sauté dish. Add the ground mixture and stir-fry over low-medium heat until fragrant, 4-5 minutes. Increase the heat slightly, add the pork and stir-fry until it changes color and is well coated with the seasonings, 3-4 minutes.
- Sprinkle with sugar and fry for a minute, then add salt to taste, tamarind juice and just enough water to cover the meat. Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat to simmer until the pork is tender, about 45 minutes. Remove the lid and cook a little longer if required, to thicken the sauce.