Love (Sweet and Sour Pork)

My blog friend butterscratch shared something really nice (she got it from Medical Marzipan)

Love yourself. Love yourself unconditionally. Love yourself with everything you’ve got, every ounce of strength and courage that you can muster, because at the end of the day it’s just you, alone with your thoughts. Love yourself because you have suffered enough. Love yourself because you deserve every possible good thing that you are keeping out of your life when you’re deeply submerged in the muck of confusion and self-doubt.

Right now I think I’m stuck in a rut. Remind me to edit my ‘about me’ page, because a few months after I wrote that, here I am not a teacher anymore. I never studied to become a teacher in the first place. I’m a registered nurse who happens to enjoy English so much that my teacher asked me to teach while waiting for my nurse licensure exam results. When I was offered the job I thought it might be God giving me the career shift I needed because I never really liked the idea of being a nurse.

After a few months of trying to make it work, I realized that a teacher’s life (and salary) is not for me. Square 1 seems to follow me around all the time. Well, it’s been a few months since I graduated and passed the board exam. I’d like to end my 2011 as an unemployed soul trying to relish the rare moments of doing absolutely nothing. Nothing wrong with that at all.

Now 2012 would be a different story altogether. I don’t know what next year will hold for me and that scares me. I have been juggling a few possibilities – a career shift basically. But nothing is set in stone. I know, the rolling stone gathers no moss and all that shizz. I have to make things happen for myself. I’m tired of collecting adages. I’m tired of writing inspirational statements and resolutions that I never believe in.

Life is hard, but no one told me that part of the difficulty lies in the confusion of adulthood. The confusion of where to go next scares me. Please, somebody – tell me I’m not going crazy. Tell me that I just love myself too much.

-OK, end whining. I need to get my mojo back. Anyway, on to happier things:

This dish is something I’d eat over and over again. With lots of rice. You might think I’m stress eating, but that’s just me on a normal day. Sweet and sour pork is ubiquitous here in the Philippines. It’s innately Chinese, so we weren’t surprised when this was common “carinderia” (hole in the wall-ish) fare in Hong Kong. I was surprised that what I made did taste like Temple Street’s sweet and sour. It was comforting in a way. Like I said, eat this with lotsa rice. The pictures don’t do it justice. It’s that good. This is love.

Sweet and Sour Pork (serves 6)

1 kg pork belly or paikut, sliced into bite sized pieces

for the breading mix

  • 3/4 – 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 – 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 cup of oil/enough to cover the bottom of the pan

for the sweet and sour sauce

  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 tbsp vinegar
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 ginger slice
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • half a bulb of garlic, minced
  • red pepper flakes
  1. In a large bowl enough to hold the pork, mix the cornstarch, salt and pepper.
  2. Add the pork and mix well to coat the pieces evenly.
  3. In a large wok or pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add in the pork pieces, be careful not to overcrowd the pan and handle the pieces with care to avoid the oil splattering.
  4. Cook the pork on one side until breading is crispy and golden brown. Turn to the other side and fry until thoroughly cooked and crispy. Remove from pan and place in bowl/plate lined with paper towels. You may have to work in batches.
  5. To make the sauce: In a medium sized sauce pan, heat sesame oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and allow to toast, about 30 seconds. Add the onions and ginger. Cook until onions start to sweat and go limp. Add rest of the ingredients and adjust taste to your preference.
  6. Remove the excess oil from the pan used to cook the pork. Heat the pan again over medium heat and add the fried pork pieces. Add in the sweet and sour sauce and mix to incorporate the sauce well. Allow to simmer for about a minute and remove from heat. Top with chopped chives (optional). Serve with, once again, lotsa rice. Enjoy!

And let’s play a game of “name that pork cut!” (the appeal to help me out is still there)