An extremely delicious dish that had the whole family clamoring for more.
Fried Pork with Evaporated Milk
One day while I was cooking dinner, our helper Jessie (who gave us the recipe for Braised Squash with Lemongrass) mentioned this dish that she makes for her catered lunches that is always in demand. She said it was a fish dish that used evaporated milk and curry leaves. According to her, kids loved this dish.
I thought it sounded really good and asked if she would be willing to make it for us. She was very agreeable and told me that if I got her the evaporated milk, she would make it. She even bought the fish.
Now, having Jessie cook a dish for us on a weekday night is already a God-send. But not only that, this dish turned out to be extremely delicious. We ate it up and clamored for more. Fortunately, there was half a can of the evaporated milk left and Jessie told us that we could do this same dish with pork.
I just happened to have pork in my freezer (riblets to be exact—but pork belly chunks would’ve been even better). So Jessie agreed to cook this dish again the next day and even she agreed to wait till we got back home from work before starting to cook, so we could learn how to do it for ourselves. And now we get to share it with you!
Mingling Sweet and Savory
The key to this dish is to intermingling of savory flavors with sweet creamy flavors. This dish is reminiscent of the Malay style of cooking with loads of coconut milk (masak lemak) but instead of coconut milk, Jessie has substituted evaporated milk instead.
And the highlight of the dish is the fried curry leaves. If you’ve never had fried curry leaves, you’ve missed out my friend. There is nothing like it.
Fried sage can’t hold a candle to fried curry leaves. The aroma, pungency and savory factor of the leaves makes it one addictive eats! You need to get yourself to an Indian grocery store and find some fresh ones if you can because they are totally worth it. And in this dish, it is the star!
The other aromatics help of course—chopped garlic, minced shallots, and some small bird’s eye chillies. All these ingredients pack a wallop and make for an enticing dish that keeps you coming back for seconds and thirds and…you get the picture!
Curry Leaves, Shallots, Garlic and Chillies
Recipe for Fried Pork with Evaporated Milk
1 lb pork riblets or pork belly, cut into chunks
2 Tbsp tapioca starch (or cornstarch will work too)
1 tsp salt
dash of pepper
enough oil to shallow fry the pork riblets
3-4 shallots, minced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
3-5 bird’s eye chilli pepper, diced small (number is up to you depending on how much spice you can handle but you must have at least a few)
a large handful of curry leaves (about 5-6 thick stalks)
half a can of evaporated milk, about 1 cup
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp chicken bouillon (or to taste)
1. Mix pork riblets or pork belly with the tapioca starch, salt and pepper and allow to sit for about half an hour to an hour.
Pork Riblets Marinating
2. Heat up oil in a wok and fry the riblets until golden brown on all sides, about 4-5 mins per side.
3. Once pork is thoroughly cooked through, remove from oil.
4. Remove all but 3 Tbsp of oil from wok.
5. Throw in the shallots, garlic, chillies, and curry leaves into the hot oil and stirfry till the curry leaves start to smell really fragrant and become slightly crispy. Make sure that you don’t burn the garlic and shallots.
6. Return pork to the wok along with the above ingredients. Cook pork a little longer (if fish, this part if not necessary but because it is pork, you want to meat to get a little bit more tender).
7. After about 10-15 mins, pour in the evaporated milk, followed by the sugar and chicken bouillon.
8. Let the whole dish simmer for a little while in this sauce (if needed, you could add a bit of water). Adjust seasoning—it should be savory with touches of sweetness and spicyness.
9. Plate up and eat with plenty of rice. Yum!
Fried Pork with Evaporated Milk
Try this dish and I guarantee you will love the combination of flavors. If you have a nice white fish (like dory), you could replace the pork for fish (except that the batter for the fish is slightly different and you don’t put the fried fish back into the sauce—you just pour it onto the cooked fish).
Since these curry leaves came from our neighbor’s tree, I am entering this in the Grow Your Own recipe roundup this month, hosted by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes.