I am starting my Hainanese Curry Rice series with this Hainanese pork chop recipe. Crispy fried pork chops can be found in many cultures. The Austrians have their schnitzels and the Japanese their tonkatsu. What makes Hainanese pork chops unique is the use of cream crackers for the coating which not only gives the pork chops their unique crunch but also a unique, toasty flavour.
In this recipe I used a brine to tenderise the pork instead. This simple salt brine not only tenderises the meat, but also makes it more juicy and seasons it at the same time. If you are in a hurry, you can omit it and tenderise the pork the traditional way by pounding it and adding 1/2 a tsp of bicarbonate of soda into the marinade.
I am using meat from the ham (back thigh) in this recipe. My butcher at the wet market told me that this is the cut they use at the Hainanese curry rice stalls. It actually works very well and the meat was lean but still tender. Pork loin chops would work well too. The thickness should be between 1.5cm to 2cm. If you cut it too thick, the crackers will burn before the interior of the pork is adequately cooked.
When breading the pork, make sure you drain off the excess marinade before you dust with flour to ensure that the crust will stick to the pork. Gently press the cream crackers onto the surface of the pork and leave it on a rack until ready to fry.
1/8 cup salt (25g)
Lean pork 600g
Salt 1 Tbsp
White pepper 2 tsp
Sesame Oil 1 Tbsp
Ginger juice 1 Tbsp
Chinese wine 1 Tbsp
Plain flour 1 cup
Cream crackers 10 (crushed)
Onion 1 medium
Tomato ketchup 3 Tbsp
Vinegar 2 tsp
Sugar 1 Tbsp
Chicken powder 2 tsp
Cornflour 1 Tbsp (dissolved in water)
Dissolve salt in water and brine the pork for 8 hours. Remove and pat dry.
Marinade pork for 30mins. Then dust the pork with flour, followed by beaten eggs and cover with crushed cream crackers. Deep fry at 190°C for 2 mins or until the crust is golden brown. Set aside.
Remove the skin of the tomato by cutting a cross on the base of the tomato and then blanching it in hot water for 1 min. Remove and cool in water. Peel the skin and cut into wedges. In a wok, saute the onions, add the tomatoes and the rest of the seasoning. Simmer till the tomatoes are soft and thicken with corn flour. Spoon sauce over the pork chops and serve with potato chips and canned peas.