In a break from my usual storytelling blogs, I feel I need to share my latest culinary success with the world (OK, maybe not the whole world, maybe just the handful of people who will read this).
A Kung Po is one of my favourite Chinese meals; I have tried to replicate this restaurant-quality dish many times at home without much success… until yesterday! Here is my secret recipe, but before you read it, I make no excuse for not entering actual quantities; if you like something in the list of ingredients, put more of it in, if you don’t, use less. You are unlikely to see measurements and more likely to read words such as ‘dollop’, ‘splodge’, ‘sprinkling’, ‘splash’ and ‘dash’.
- pork steaks
- green pepper
- red pepper
- yellow pepper
- red onion
- red chilli pepper
- water chestnuts
- cashew nuts
For the Sauce
- Korean Gochujang Sauce/Paste
- pomegranate molasses
- scotch bonnet hot pepper sauce
- dark soy sauce
- Worcestershire sauce
- cider vinegar
- lemon juice
- tomato purée
- Chinese five spice
- sesame seeds
1. Cut the pork steaks into half inch cubes. Place in a bowl and mix in the Korean paste, the pomegranate molasses to give sweetness and the hot pepper sauce to give heat. Mix everything together and allow to marinate in the fridge for an hour.
2. Chop the peppers, onion and pineapple into roughly the same size as the pork cubes. Finally, thinly slice the chilli pepper. Slice the water chestnuts and add all the ingredients into a separate bowl with the cashew nuts.
3. Add sesame oil to a frying pan or wok, heat it until quite hot and add the pork mixture.
4. From here onwards, there are no delicate instructions. Slap in all the mixed up chopped vegetables and pineapple and continually give it all a good stir round. Add the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, a dash of cider vinegar, a squirt of lemon juice, a dollop of tomato purée, and a sprinkling of five spice. Keep stirring until it looks like a proper Kung Po.
5. Serve in a bowl and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. I chose to accompany mine with hot white pitta bread.
I regret not taking a photograph of the final rainbow-coloured result. It tasted as stunning as it looked, even if I say so myself. I almost wanted to cook it again today just to take a photograph, but I resisted the urge.
You need to trust me on this one. In words taken directly from Father Ted, “Go on, go on, go on…”