One of my favourite items on a wedding menu back home is the pork schezwan. This Indo-Chinese dish is so much a part of Mangalorean weddings that every once in a while you will see it featured on the menu. Although a few people make it at home it pretty much remains to be a dish normally ordered from the caterer. Today many caterers in Mangalore cater to small parties at home with the number being as low as 12-15 and pork schezwan is usually a dish we like to order as everyone likes it so much back home.
Sometimes I wonder how this dish became a part of our cuisine - not the traditional one but more like an adapted one, the one that is filled with lovely dishes from around the world, those that are proudly presented on party menus to impress the young and old alike. Perhaps the few Chinese restaurants that everyone ate out at on special occasions contributed to this culture. Back when I was growing up, eating out was not a thing. We ate home cooked food and didn't really crave for take aways but slowly, as the trend picked up people started eating out, especially at Chinese restaurants (as there weren't any multi cuisine restaurants back then) and since most Mangaloreans love their pork as much as they love their fish they must have decided to bring the flavours back home and recreate the dishes to be enjoyed in the comfort of their home.
When this dish was being cooked the hubby and I got into a conversation about the different kinds of pork dishes that are part of the traditional Mangalorean cuisine and its remarkable to note that we don't have too many in our culinary repertoire! Pork Bafat (Dukramaas), Pork Indad, Pork Sorpotel or Kaleez Ankiti (Pork Offal Curry) are pretty much what everyone prefers eating every time, at least the older generation. We do enjoy other dishes such as the Pork Chilli (here's my version) and the Pork Schezwan or the Pandi Curry (Coorgi Pork) but that's pretty much the end of pork dishes. Do you know of any traditional dish that I haven't mentioned above? Do write in at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know. I will definitely try to hunt for the recipe and post it here.
This dish is pretty much an adaptation of what is popularly available in Mangalore. The husband makes it often and there was no way it could stay out of the blog for too long. Since he had made this dish for a party a couple of weeks ago I decided to quickly capture some pictures and post it.
It is a brilliant dish to be served as a starter - you will surely impress everyone at your party! The addition of cashew nuts is optional but the crunch that these roasted nuts lend is really irresistible.
I do hope you enjoy it!
Marination time: 1-2 hours | Prep time: 20 mins | Cooking time: 10-15 mins | Serves 4
For the marination:
- 1 kg boneless pork (preferably without fat), thinly sliced into squares of approx 1 ½ inch each
- 3 teaspoons dark soy sauce
- 3 teaspoons cornflour (cornstarch)
- salt to taste
- 3-4 tablespoons of vegetable oil to fry the pork + 2 tablespoons
- 1 large onion, diced (into large chunks and separated)
- 1/2 inch ginger, finely chopped
- 8-10 fat cloves of garlic, minced
- 3-4 long red chilis (Chinese / Thai or the non crinkly ones, not very spicy)
- 1 green bell pepper (capsicum), deseeded and cut into medium chunks
- 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and cut into medium chunks
- 3 tablespoons of szechwan sauce (see recipe for homemade schezwan sauce)
- 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
- 1-2 teaspoons sweet soy sauce (or add 1-2 tsp dark soy sauce with tsp of sugar)
- 3 teaspoons of dark soy sauce
- 3-4 teaspoons of cornflour (cornstarch) dissolved in half a cup of water (room temperature)
- 1 bunch of spring onions (white bulb to be sliced thin, greens divided - some cut julienne and some sliced (rounds) for garnishing)
- salt to taste
1. Wash and pat the pork slices dry. Marinate it with the rest of the ingredients mentioned under 'For the marination' for at least 1-2 hours (the longer the better)
2. Heat 3-4 tablespoons of oil in a heavy, wide based wok or frying pan fry the marinated pieces till the meat is cooked - make sure not to overcrowd the pan or else the meat will get steam cooked and release a lot of stock. If your pan is small, fry in batches.
3. Once the pork is fried, fry the cashew nuts in the same oil and keep aside.
4. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy based, deep wok and fry the red chilies, garlic, ginger till the rawness goes away - on a medium heat. Next, increase the heat and add the spring onion whites and fry for about half a minute (make sure the oil is really hot at this point)
5. Add the diced onions and fry about a minute, add the spring onion whites and bell peppers and fry for about 2 minutes
6. Add the schezwan sauce, tomato ketchup, dark soy sauce, sweet soy sauce and stir for about a minute and then add the cornflour mixture, reduce the heat and simmer for about a minute.
7. Now add the spring onion juliennes and add in the fried pork, adjust salt to taste and simmer for about 3-4 minutes till the pork is mixed well with the sauce.
8. Garnish with roasted cashew nuts and spring onions and serve hot as a starter or accompaniment to fried rice or noodles.
This is a dry dish, if more gravy required, use meat or chicken of 1 cup and add additions 2 tsp corn floor mixed with little cold water just before adding the pork.