Friday, July 22, 2011

Crispy Fried Pork Bites

This is a very simple dish that serves as great party food. It also has the ability to satisfy many of those cravings (for something crispy, for something salty, for something a little spicy, and of course for meat)! I used pork tenderloin here because of its great flavor and texture - it's a very lean cut of meat, but it is not tough at all (if cooked properly). The special touch that I added was a marination step. The result was a super crispy and flavorful bite-sized creation that quickly disappeared from the serving platters!

Pork tenderloin accepts marinades very well. The key is to make sure that you have some acid in your marinade to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat. I used the following lime-based marinade for a total of 4 tenderloins:

- 3/4 cup lime juice
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp cumin powder
- generous amount of salt

Since I wanted to make bite-sized snacks, I cubed the tenderloin just prior to marination. You can see the size I aimed for in the picture. Uniformity isn't crucial since these are destined to be deep fried.

After cubing, the pork was left in the marinade overnight in the fridge. It is important to seal the marination container, and the flavors will penetrate best with minimal exposure of the meat to air. As you can see below, the marinade should completely cover the meat.

When the marination is done, I took the pork out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature. You don't want to try and deep fry the meat while it is cold, because this will lead to uneven cooking. When the meat was close to room temperature, I uncovered it and drained excess liquid from the meat. The next step was to batter these bites. I used a very conventional breading - first I dredged the meat in flour, then I dipped them in beaten egg, and finally I coated them in Panko. This is very simple, but using a slotted spoon or chopsticks makes the job easier, as using your hands leads to the flour sticking to you rather than the meat. I set up three bowls as stations and just went in order.

The last step is of course the deep frying. I started off with medium high heat, because the pork does need considerable time in the fryer (7-10 minutes) to be fully cooked, and I didn't want to burn the breading. I fried until the bites were a dark golden brown.

Now you can see how crispy those are! These taste great on their own, but also go well with your favorite dipping sauce. I used my homemade BBQ sauce, but mustard, hot sauce, or even ketchup would complement these bites well. Give them a shot and enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. If you have chopstick skills like me, this is an easy process!