Chinese Pork Rice with Cucumber Ribbon Salad
I picked up this recipe when I signed up for a Gousto food box last Summer at Feast Food Festival … The Gousto introductory offer was a great deal and is a great service for foodies who lack time to plan their menus for the week ahead. You order three meals a week, quality ingredients and recipes cards to make your chosen meals are then courier delivered to your home once a week in a chilled box. Gousto use high animal welfare meats and organic vegetables. The exact measured ingredients for each recipe are included with all the fiddly little extras that if you were making from scratch at home can add a kings’ ransom of value to your shopping basket and never ever see the light of day again – so where necessary a teaspoon of mustard, a sprinkle of ras-al-hanout, a splash of rice wine vinegar, a dribble of honey etc are all part of your dish along with a handy wipeable recipe card. Prices start at £4 per meal/per head, this is the perfect service for those short on time or inspiration to cook during the week! …. But frankly as I now only work part-time I have absolutely no excuse not to measure out my own teaspoon of mustard or splash of vinegar and I am also truly trying to advocate the #shoplocal ethos, supporting local shops, particularly independents.
The Gousto recipes are simple, take minimal preparation and time to cook, usually no more than 30 minutes … as with most recipes I find I have gone on to tweak this recipe a little, to my own taste.
600g Pork Mince
300g Basmati Rice
A tbsp of oil – I like Rapeseed for any recipes where I am frying due to its higher burning point than olive oil – and half the saturated fat!
A sprinkle of Chinese Five Spice (according to taste – the original recipe called for 2 tbsp of this stuff – fine if you want to feel like you have sucked on a star Anise for a week but not for me!!)
A generous chunk of ginger ( i L-O-V-E ginger, so I use lots of it), peeled and crushed/grated/chopped depending on how you like the texture
2 or 3 cloves of garlic – crushed
A fresh red or green chilli (according to taste again) – chopped finely
2 tbsp Runny Honey
200ml of water
A good glug of Dark Soy Sauce
2 spring Onions – chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
Bunch of Coriander – stems removed and leaves chopped
For the Cucumber Ribbon Salad
4 tbsp rice/wine vinegar
Salt to taste
Start by rinsing Basmati rice thoroughly (until the water runs clear), this removes the excess starch and assures you of light and fluffy rice not rice pudding. Place the rice in a saucepan with 750ml salted water and bring to the boil. Once boiling turn down the heat, place a lid on the pan and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Check that the rice is not sticking to the bottom, when all the liquid has gone switch off heat and allow to continue to steam through.
To make your ribbon salad, using a potato peeler ( I like the chunky handled Good Grips Y Peeler) slice ribbons from the cucumber into a bowl, stop when you get to the seeded centre, turn the cucumber onto its side and start again down the other side of the cucumber until you are left with just the seeded centre, dice this and put aside.
Add the rice vinegar (white wine vinegar is fine if you don’t have rice vinegar) to the cucumber ribbons and leave to marinate.
In the meantime start to brown your pork in a little rapeseed oil, breaking it down gently with a fork so there are no clumps of mince. Once browned add the chilli (as much or little as you would like), garlic and ginger. When cooked through add the honey, soy sauce, sprinkle of Chinese five spice, salt and pepper to taste and the water, your mince will now take on a rich brown colour.
Cook for a few more minutes and then stir the pork mixture through your steaming basmati rice (before you do this, do make sure all the water has evaporated and gently fork through to ensure rice is light and fluffy). To finish add the diced cucumber flesh, chopped spring onion and a generous handful of coriander leaves (coriander haters can leave this out but it is one of my favourite herbs and adds a true asian flavour)
Serve with the cucumber ribbon salad on the side