In case you hadn’t already figured it out, I’m a big fan of Hong Kong style cuisine – the type you would find in an everyday diner. Fusion food is the order of the day, and a total disregard of the five food groups is standard practice. One of the dishes you are most likely to find on the menu is Portugese-style Baked Pork Chop on Spaghetti, a dish that’s been heavily influenced by the Macanese culture and cuisine that’s only a short ferry ride away from Hong Kong Island.
I really enjoy re-creating this dish at home, as it’s just incredibly reminiscent of the best dining experiences of my childhood. It’s not the healthiest of meals though, so do consider serving a salad on the side!
Recipe: Baked Pork Chop Spaghetti
For the pork chops and spaghetti: Six pork chops, salt, white pepper, garlic, Chinese rice wine, sesame oil, one packet of spaghetti
For the tomato sauce: Worchestershire sauce, tomato sauce, potato starch, one can of diced tomatoes, two onions, and six medium-sized tomatoes
Two hours before cooking, make up a marinade of a generous pinch of salt and cracked black pepper, finely diced garlic (a bulb’s worth), and a dash of Chinese rice wine and sesame oil. Tenderise the pork chops on both sides by chopping them lightly with the back of a butcher’s cleaver and cover in the marinade.
When you’re ready to start cooking, boil up a pot of water with a dash of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Cook a packet of spaghetti to your preference (I like my pasta somewhat al dente, but you might prefer it softer!) and then drain. Pour the cooked pasta into a large crockpot.
Lightly grill the pork chops on the both sides and arrange on top of the spaghetti in the crock pot. The pork doesn’t need to be cooked through as you will be baking it in the oven as well.
Chop up your onions and fresh tomatoes, and fry them up in a pan until slightly caramelised. Add the can of tinned tomatoes and combine. Mix up the Worchestershire sauce and the tomato sauce separately (I aim for a ratio of 2 to 1) with a touch of water to lessen the saltiness and intensity of flavours. Add potato starch as needed to thicken the sauce until it’s the consistency of gravy, and then combine with your onion and tomato mixture.
Once your sauce is cooked through, pour it over the pork chops and spaghetti. Cover with a layer of grated cheese and then bake in a medium-hot oven for twenty minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown and toasty. I prefer my cheese melted rather than toasted, so I don’t tend to bake mine for as long (I do grill the pork chops longer beforehand to compensate though).
Once the dish is cooked, mix up your melted cheese with the sauce, spaghetti and pork chops, until you have one delicious cheesy and rich-tomato spaghetti dish. Serve with cracked pepper on top, and some lemon iced tea on the side for a true Hong Kong-style diner experience.
What’s your favourite childhood comfort food?