Pork Chop Rice (Pai Gu Fan)

Growing up, the other kids my age on the street were Taiwanese. After school, their moms would bring us bian dangs (lunch/bento boxes) that they’d pick up from neighborhood Taiwanese cafes. Pai Gu Fan was always one of them. Thinking about those boxes makes me smile – I miss them!

My take on Taiwanese Pai Gu Fan, pork chop over rice, uses cornstarch instead of the more traditional sweet potato starch but still gives it a nice crust. More importantly, I’m obsessed with the flavor the marinade imparts on the pork.

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless pork chops (~1 lb)
  • neutral cooking oil (vegetable, canola)
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch

Marinade:

  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper powder
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing cooking wine
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp 5 spice powder
  • salt to taste

To serve: rice, sautéed veg, soft-boiled egg

Directions:

  • Mix the marinade and set aside. Feel free to taste test here and adjust the marinade to your preference, I find that I don’t need any additional salt but every soy sauce varies slightly in saltiness)
  • Trim the pork chops (I usually just trim off the large fatty areas). Depending on the thickness of your pork chop, cut in half ~3/4 inch thickness. If you want smaller pieces, slice the chop all the way through. If you want a larger piece, do not cut all the way through and instead butterfly the pork chop loin (start slicing from the fatty side and stop slicing when you’re about 1/4 inch from the end).
  • Cut ~1 inch slits along the sides of the pork chop, about an inch a part from each other. Do this on both sides of the pork chop. This prevents it from curling during the frying process.
  • Pound both sides of the pork using a meat tenderizer or the back of a knife until the pork is ~1/4 inch thick.
  • Put into a bowl or bag and cover with the marinade. Marinate in the fridge for an hour.
  • Remove pork from the marinade and toss and coat with cornstarch
  • Heat up oil over medium heat – you want enough so that there’s a thin layer along the bottom of the pan.
  • Pan fry each side for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. If they’re browning too quickly, reduce heat to medium-low. (I find that adding a pinch of flour into the oil helps to reduce splatter)
  • Let rest for 5 minutes and serve with rice, veg of choice, and a soy-marinated egg if you’re feeling fancy.



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