JAPANESE-STYLE GINGER PORK
This traditional Japanese dish with thin slices of pork has fragrant garlic, ginger and soy sauce which is not only good for your immunity but incredibly delicious.
Pronounced (Shoga-Yaki) shoga means ginger, and yaki means grill or fry; it is one of Japan’s most popular pork dishes, right up there with Tonkatsu or crispy fried pork cutlets.
This super quick and easy dish is an excellent way to introduce a different global cuisine into your cooking répertoire and can be prepared and ready in just 15 minutes.
You may have to ask the butcher for this cut of pork loin, as it is often used for short cut bacon. All good butchers who make their own bacon will be more than happy to reserve this cut for you. I’ve made this dish super easy by using my Luck Dragon Asian sauce which saves you having to make your own. The caramelised garlic, sesame and fresh lemon really elevate the flavours of the pork, which combined with the soy and ginger make for a delicious dish.
Did you know? Indigenous Japanese have an early history of consuming wild caught meat, but when the philosophy of Buddhism became established among the ruling class of Japan, the vegetarian preferred diet led to the idea of shunning of meat. For over 1000 years there were even periodic bans on meat consumption. It’s only since Japan opened up to the West 150 years ago that slowly things began to change, and meat consumption started to be widely accepted again in Japan, and pork has been a relatively affordable favourite.
Chef Dylan tip: Ask the butcher to slice the pork in 5 mm slices for you so you get nice even slices. The pan needs to be nice and hot to get that nice colour on the meat, but it only needs to colour on one side as the pork loin is so thin. It can over cook very easily so be careful.
Osaka, Southern Japan 2004
Sitting beneath the old cherry blossom tree, I slowly open my eyes, gently coming back from the meditative state I’ve spent the last hour in. A strange new enchanting world begins to come into focus, and a delicate pink cherry blossom flower catches my attention as it gently floats towards the ground, loosened by the cool breeze that now has a litter of leaves swirling in the hotel carpark. I glance at my watch; 11:05 am, perfect. I intentionally skipped breakfast at the hotel this morning as I want to try the shogayaki set at a local hole-in-the-wall–style restaurant the concierge at the reception highly recommended. Reaching into my jacket pocket, I carefully unfold the detailed hand-drawn mud map he had given to me the night before.
Making my way down the street, I come to the main part of town. The wide road is flanked on both sides by cream and grey coloured ten storey apartment-style buildings linked by a myriad electrical wires like giant spider webs crisscrossing between them. Adorned on the sides are multi-coloured advertisements in block Japanese characters that confuddle my mind.
The sidewalk is peppered with well-dressed Japanese workmen, little old ladies and the occasional American tourist garbed in a garishly bright tee shirt and sandals with socks. The air is thick with the smell of tobacco and exhaust fumes. Looking down at my map I’m relieved to see the restaurant is just a few metres ahead.
White illuminated lanterns hang outside the restaurant like cocoons between a navy-blue banner that matches the characters on my map. A small fish tank filled with prawns and shellfish sits on a wooden crate next to a large, brightly lit window, showing photos of all sorts of exotic dishes with beautiful calligraphy and a photo of a smiling Japanese girl holding a massive bottle of sake. Next to the door sits a rack for your umbrella, above it are cane-looking baskets and what look like some sort of primitive traditional straw skirts. I enter and see it’s tiny inside with only 10 stools dotted underneath a long bar. The patrons are all men dressed exactly the same, with white collared shirts and jet-black trousers. They all seem to know each other, as they all turn in unison as I pull out the last remaining stool. Seemingly uninterested in me, they go back to talking and joking with each other. The neatly dressed barman, dressed in all black, has his shirt unbuttoned casually and asks in perfect English “Menu sir”? “No need,” I reply, “Can I order the shogayaki meal set please?” “Certainly sir.”
If you like Japanese food and you’re willing to give this recipe a shot, you’ll have yourself a full-blown Japanese umami bomb indeed. So, why not go ahead and get some pork on your fork.
Shogayaki is usually served with rice, thinly shredded cabbage and miso soup to make it a meal set. If you want to make the shredded cabbage, just trim the stems from the tender inner leaves of a head of cabbage and then roll them up and use a sharp knife to cut the cabbage into thin threads.
PREP TIME: 5 mins
COOKING TIME: 10 mins
300g pork loin, thinly sliced
2 tbs oil
1 tbs butter
3 tbs Luck dragon Asian sauce
1 tbs ginger, finely grated
1/2 small brown onion, sliced
1 cup cooked rice
1/4 small cabbage, sliced thinly
In a small bowl mix the grated ginger and Luck Dragon sauce to combine.
Heat oil in a non-stick frypan over medium high heat until smoking
Place the meat in the frypan without overlapping (cook in batches if required) and cook for about 1-2 minutes or until the bottom side is nice and golden. Only cook one side.
If cooking in batches, transfer the cooked meat onto a plate and fry the remaining meat and remove to a plate.
Reduce the heat to medium.
Add butter and melt, then sizzle the onion and cook for 2 mins stirring to soften.
Return all the cooked meat to the frypan and add the Luck Dragon Asian sauce to the pan.
Cook for about 15-30 secs, turning the pork slices over to ensure the meat is coated with the sauce. When the sauce is reduced to about 1-2 tablespoons, turn the heat off.
Serve with cooked rice, sliced cabbage and an extra drizzle of Luck Dragon.