So I know I’ve talked about the types of questions we get asked by people about our life here, specifically, “What do you miss from Canada or the US?” And I know that I’ve said there are some things, but nothing that is so deep it hurts. I think we’ve just gotten to this place of contentment and acceptance.
There is one thing for me though. And it doesn’t hurt, but sometimes it occupies large parts of my brain.
What you ask?
This is silly.
It’s Chinese food.
I’m so not joking. I LOVE Chinese food. But it has to be the right kind of Chinese food. This is the one thing that I regularly crave while living here. It’s the one thing that I always want when we go “home” or somewhere in North America. The sad thing is, many times my craving is met with disappointment because I apparently have specific standards of what it should taste like. I can’t help it. There’s this little Chinese food place in Armstrong called the Great Wall. And it’s literally a little hole in the wall. But Friday and Saturday nights the place is packed. I know I am not the only one that feels this way. Mmmm. Just thinking about it makes my stomach growl.
I will admit, I’m picky about my Chinese food. I hate it when chow mien is made with those big wormy noodles. I hate it when sweet and sour pork is too vinegary. I hate it when beef chop suey is mostly chop suey and not a good balance of beef. Sigh. Thus the disappointment. Also adding to the disappointment is the fact that my husband doesn’t generally love Chinese food like I do. How I feel about Chinese food is how he feels about fried fish. If only our two worlds would crash in this department. It makes me sad when we’re home at my parents house and we’re within walking distance of the Great Wall, which I think about frequently, and I can’t convince him to go eat there. Sad, sad, sad. (He doesn’t know I’m writing this, btw.)
Sooo, why am I sitting here talking about Chinese food?
Well, it all has to do with the fact that I veered from my meal plan two nights ago, which meant that I had no idea what I was going to make for dinner last night. I thought I would make grilled pork, so I had taken it out of the freezer earlier, but when it came time to cook, it was so uninspiring. I got out my trusty More With Less cookbook that I’ve been telling you about, and looked up pork recipes. In the end what I decided on totally surprised me, because it had seemed like one of those untouchable meal places that I couldn’t ever go to.
People, I made Sweet and Sour Pork!
And it was freakin’ amazing.
It was so amazing that I literally could not stop thinking about it last night. It was SO amazing that my husband, who doesn’t love Chinese, came in and sampled some of the pork mid-way and then I had to beat him out of the kitchen. It was SOOO amazing that when we sat down to eat I almost went into a coma of happiness. It was SOOOOOO amazing that I actually said the words, “You know how you feel about fish leftovers? That’s how I feel about this, and I’m just telling you right now that the leftovers are mine.” It was so amazing that when I said that Chris sat there looking at me in stunned silence because he was already dreaming about them. It was so amazing that Olivia had to be stopped or she would have continued to eat the pork. It was so amazing that when I asked her if she was finally done her dinner, she looked at me, and said, “I need this,” and pointed to the dish of pork. When I told her no, she did not (and I will admit it was purely for selfish reasons because I was calculating how much would be left over) accept that and continued to tell me that she needed more of it. With batting eyelashes and charm. Today, when Chris went to eat lunch and realized I was serious about what I had said the night before, he was actually sad. This, from the guy who doesn’t like Chinese food.
Yes, I just spent an entire paragraph waxing on about one dish of food. It was that good.
I want to share the love with you, so I’m going to give you the recipe, and then you will have to make it. You will be crazy not to. (I wish I was exaggerating about that) I’ve made some modifications so that’s how I’m going to type it up for you.
Sweet & Sour Pork
Combine in a bowl for marinade:
1 egg, beaten
1 T sugar
1 tsp salt
1 T soy sauce
Add to marinade and let stand for 20-30 minutes:
1 lb lean pork, cubed (small cubes)
Prepare and set aside:
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground ginger
1 green pepper, cut in chunks
1 onion, cut in wedges
3/4 c pineapple chunks, drained (reserve juice)
Combine and set aside:
3 T vinegar
3 T brown sugar
2 T soy sauce
2 T corn starch
Heat in wok or skillet:
1/2 inch of vegetable oil
Dredge marinated pork cubes in a mixture of cornstarch and flour (about 1/2 c each). You can literally just throw the pork in the bowl and stir it around with a fork to make sure it’s well coated. Fry in oil until all sides are golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel. Empty oil from pan into a container for disposal or use with other frying (it’ll have flour sludge in the bottom). Wipe out pan with a paper towel. Add several tablespoons of oil. When hot add garlic, peppers and onions and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add pineapple and sauce ingredients. Cook just until sauce thickens and clears. Remove from heat and add pork. Gently stir to coat pork in sauce. Serve immediately with hot rice.
I also added a bit of red food coloring to get that red/pink sweet and sour sauce that you normally find when eating out. It was just an esthetics thing for me :)
Now I’ve got the bug. I was looking at other recipes today and I’m SO excited to try some other things out. Seriously, I want chopsticks!!!