Friday, 10 April 2015

Mango and Tamarind Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Asian Slaw

I have had some tamarind paste in the fridge for a while, and decided that it's time to use it again. It lasts a while, but it's taking up space in the fridge. Tamarind paste is made from the fruit of the tamarind tree and is used in a lot of Asian cuisines. It is very sour, and is usually balanced out with some kind of sweetener.

This recipe calls for tamarind paste and balsamic vinegar, but is balance by the sweetness from the mango juice and hoisin sauce. The marinade becomes the glaze, and the pork is tender, sweet and sticky.

I also made an Asian style slaw, with cabbage and my last 2 carrots and 3 green onions. This was so good, as I added some toasted cashews for a bit of crunch!

For the pork, make a marinade by combining:

1/2 cup mango juice
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
1 heaped teaspoon minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of chili flakes

Place 2 pork tenderloins into a resealable plastic bag, and add the marinade. Press as much air out as possible when sealing the bag.

Leave the pork in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or overnight, before grilling.

Cook the pork on a hot, oiled grill, turning often and basting each time you turn it.

Use the reserved marinade to baste the meat; discard any that is unused.

Cook until the pork is cooked through, then remove it from the grill and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving the meat.

To make the Asian slaw, combine the vegetables in a large bowl:

1/2 cabbage, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh chives, thinly sliced

 To make the dressing, whisk together:

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Add the dressing to the salad, and mix well. Do not use it all, add a little bit at a time; you don't want the vegetables swimming in dressing, just nicely coated.

Add some toasted cashews and serve alongside the sliced pork.

  • The marinade is easy to make; consider doubling the recipe and freezing half for another time. The pork can also be frozen in the marinade. Defrost and cook when needed.
  • Ribs, chicken breast or whole chicken can be used instead of the pork tenderloin. Prawns can also be used, but they require less time in the marinade, no more than 30 minutes...throw them into the marinade and light the grill, they should be good to go when it has heated up.
  • Use any juice if you don't have mango available...I have used guava before. The juice is providing sweetness, so any juice other than lemon or lime will work.
  • A substitute for tamarind paste is lime juice. It is a direct substitution.
  • When I use this recipe to make ribs, I bake them, covered, in the marinade until they are tender, and then finish them off on the grill. The marinade and meat juices can be reduced to make a sauce for serving on the side.
  • Add as much chili as you can handle...dried chili flakes, sambal oelek, sriracha or fresh chilies that have been chopped. The link below explains the differences between sriracha and sambal oelek.
  • The pork can be served with rice. Use some coconut milk as your rice cooking liquid, and top the hot rice with diced avocado and fresh mango.
  • Extras have many uses. Try wraps, pork fried rice, pizza toppings, stir fry or shredding it and adding it to a chopped green salad, along with diced fresh mango and toasted cashews.
  • I used Savoy cabbage, any cabbage will work, as long as it is thinly sliced and the large stems/core are taken out.
  • Add other vegetables to the slaw...thinly sliced red peppers, bean sprouts, edamame, thinly sliced Asian pear, thinly sliced snow peas...use your imagination.
  • I wanted to use peanuts, but only had cashews. Any nuts that have been toasted will do the trick. They add crunch to the salad. Seeds such as sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds will work as well.
  • If you have Chinese style steam fried noodles, add some to the salad just before serving. This will add even more crunch!
  • The dressing will keep in the refrigerator for a few days, and can be used as a marinade if you wish.
  • I used crunchy peanut butter; smooth can be used, it's a personal choice. Try other nut butters if you have some available. I have a cashew and peanut butter that I meant to use, but I grabbed the peanut butter out of habit!

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