|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
In Thailand, pork is used for a variety of hot and cold dishes; instead of our Western tradition of serving pork chops with applesauce, here they are accompanied by a fresh and tangy mango sauce that marries beautifully with the flavor of pork. The chops are easily roasted in the oven, and the accompanying sauce can be put together as they roast. For best results, try to hunt down a fragrant ripe mango for this lovely recipe -- you won't be disappointed!
- 4 pork chops, fat left on
- 1 fresh ripe mango
- 1 handful of fresh coriander/cilantro
- 2 to 3 tablespoons coarsely-ground black pepper
- 9 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 4 tablespoons sherry
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar or white vinegar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed, plus 2 tablespoons for the marinade
- 1 fresh red chili, minced, or 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or dried crushed chili
Place pork chops in a flat baking dish. Sprinkle pepper and 5 cloves minced garlic over both sides and rub in.
Combine remaining marinade ingredients (4 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, sherry, and 2 tablespoons brown sugar) in a cup, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour over the chops and turn once to saturate.
Cover dish with foil and set in the refrigerator to marinate 10 to 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Cover tightly with foil and roast 60 to 90 minutes (they will be fully cooked after 1 hour, but 90 minutes will give more tender results).
Turn the chops once in the middle of baking. If your baking dish is dry at this point, add 3 to 4 tablespoons water -- use boiling water if it's a glass baking dish.
While chops are roasting, slice up the mango into small cubes and set aside. For the sauce, place all ingredients (rice vinegar, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 4 cloves garlic, chili or cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, and 1 tablespoon soy sauce) in a saucepan and bring to a boil. The vinegar will be pungent as it burns off.
Reduce heat to medium and continue simmering sauce 10 minutes, or until it has reduced to 1/3 and has thickened slightly.
Remove from heat and taste-test, looking for a tangy flavor that is also spicy and sweet. The sauce may taste strong (sharp) at this point, but it will be perfect when combined with the pork. If you'd like it spicier, add more chili. If it's too sour, add a little more sugar.
Remove chops from oven. Turn once before removing to soak up the juices from the pan, then plate them up. Add some fresh mango to each portion, then drizzle over the sauce. Garnish with fresh coriander, and accompany with plenty of Thai jasmine-scented rice (it's also delicious with potatoes).