The name of this recipe conjures images of swaying palm fronds and sashaying lasses. The flavour is a tantalizing mix of Asian and fresh tropical flavours. One taste and you will approve of the name it was aptly given.
This is a dish that I used to cook a lot when I was young. If I remember right, I found the recipe in one of those women's magazines. I had a collection of clippings and I still have some of them up to now.
Food then had funny titles like these. A lot had names of places but in no way are they connected. Pineapples instantly bring to mind scenes of the tropics so the names Tahitian, Polynesian, Hawaiian were often used as suggestive tags.
The sauce that glazes the pork chunks takes the sweet and tangy taste from pineapples and licorice flavour from star anise. The original recipe calls for thin strips of pork that are first fried before being glazed with the sauce. I used chunks of belly ribs (pork belly rashers with the bones attached) instead which I simmered in the sauce until tender before frying. It is served over shredded cabbage and sprinkled with spring onion rings. It is a yin and yang dish, a perfect balance of sweet, savoury and fresh.
1 kilo of belly pork, cut into chunks
1/4 c. light soy sauce
3 tbsps. brown sugar
2 tbsps. dry sherry
1 227 gm. can of pineapple pieces/chunks2 segments of star anise
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
cooking oil for frying
spring onion rings for garnish
Season the pork chunks with the soy sauce, sugar, sherry and the juice from the pineapple. Marinade for half an hour.
Transfer to a pot and add 3/4 cup of water and the star anise. Bring to a boil and simmer until the pork is tender. I used a pressure cooker and it took just 20 minutes. Strain the pork but keep the liquid for the sauce.
Coat the pork lightly with corn flour then shallow fry until golden brown.
Re-heat the sauce and bring it to a boil. Reduce if too watery. Add the pineapple pieces. Disperse 1 1/2 tsps. of corn flour in 2 tbsps. of water and thicken the sauce. Add the sesame oil. Adjust the seasonings to your own taste.
Serve on a bed of shredded cabbage and sprinkle with spring onion rings.
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