Sunday, August 22, 2010

My first failure

My first Cantonese style was my first true failure.  It was pork loin with orange sauce of the sort many are familiar with.

Initial Investigation

The recipe calls for 2 oranges, plus 1/3 cup of bottled orange juice.  The oranges were to be squeezed for juice anyway, there was no reason to not to use fresh squeezed entirely.

Outstanding question: recipe calls for 2 oranges to make 5 tbs of juice.  Are Chinese oranges especially small or non-juicy?


The meat is marinated with soy sauce, flour, and corn starch, then double fried (deep fried over medium heat, removed, and deep fried over high heat).  It occurs to me in the middle that I don't know if the marinade is supposed to act as a batter during the frying, but it seems to come off on its own.

Instruction is to fry "until done."  Not sure how long that should be, I went for 90 seconds and pulled it out.  The pork was done perfectly.  But then I had to re-fry for 10-15 seconds to brown.  That 15 seconds overcooked some of the pieces of pork.

The next step is to take the OJ, sugar, lemon juice, and more corn starch to a boil, take off heat, add pork, and  plate.

Plated pork loin soup?

As you can see the sauce was too thin.  I knew it would be a problem when I went to add the pork, but I was worried that trying to reduce the sauce would break down the corn starch (McGee in 'On Food and Cooking' classifies cornstarch as having "medium" stability under heat).

Worse, the taste was way off.  Instead of a tartly sweet sauce clinging to tender meat, it was a watery, vaguely bitter soup floating slightly overcooked meat. 

Was it edible?  Yeah, we ate it, but it just wasn't good.  Padma would send me home.

Interestingly, some of the sauce was left in the wok for an hour or two had dried out some.  Its flavor and texture was much more what I was originally going for.  I think that maybe all I needed to do was be braver in reducing the sauce.  This might be worth trying again, but my taster urges me to press on.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not a big fan of Padma. I would worry more about what Tom thinks. =P