I needed dinner quick. There was no time to think about it. It was one of those days that went on a fast pace and before I knew it, time had eluded me again.
Running to the freezer, I took out the first thing I saw – pork chops and the canister of frozen calamansi. Why not? I knew that if I added some soy sauce to the calamansi, then I’d have a sauce flavor similar to the Filipino ‘bistik’ (beef with lemon and soy sauce) which I often make.
After a few short hours of pre-marinating, the pork chops looked voluptuous and had a sweet citrusy aroma. They were ready to be pan seared.
Where did I get this idea to combine soy sauce and lemons or calamansi I asked myself, as the skillet grew hot and ready for the chops. Mentally, I made a quick rewind. I remembered seeing a recipe in the large Nestle cookbook which an old friend, Sandra, sent me all the way from Manila.
When recipes come back to you from friends you made years ago, then it is simply so heartwarming. Sandra and I used to work together at Saatchi. She was my account manager and I was her copywriter. We worked together on the same brand — Nestle of course. I wrote copy for the products. She presented it to client. We worked with art directors, producers, product managers. We had endless meetings. In the end, we succeeded to help move a brand off the shelves via advertising our group created. It was a great collaboration. Fast forward to today. Sandra and I are still in touch through the magic of Facebook and social networking. As a bonus, she sent me this lovely treasure of recipes from a brand I love.
Food indeed brings friends together. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I shall go have a slice of these pork chops, please!
Dinner doesn’t get easier than this. The big fat pork chop slices were pre-marinated then pan seared quickly. Once the calamansi-soy sauce blend was poured into the pan at the end of frying, the sharp citrusy aroma and flavors were irresistible. Calamansi, the Filipino lime offers an appealing, Asian twist to any meal. If you can’t find it in Asian stores, substitute with Meyer lemons and the dish will be just as good. This recipe was adapted from the cookbook “Celebrating 100 Years of Cooking with Nestle” (Manila, Philippines). With thanks to Sandra Puno, Director of Communications, Nestle Philippines Inc.
- pork chops - 2 and 1/2 pounds large pieces, with bone (about 2 to 3)
- minced garlic - 1 teaspoon
- onion - 1 large, sliced
- soy sauce - 1/4 cup
- calamansi juice, the Filipino lime - 1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon, for marinating and sauce (use frozen concentrate if fresh not available, find in Asian markets)
- broth - 1/2 cup
- Maggi seasoning - 2 teaspoons, divided, use 1 teaspoon for marinade
- vegetable or corn oil - 1/4 cup, for pan frying
- salt - 1 teaspoon
- black pepper powder - 1 teaspoon
- boiled white rice - for serving
- Marinate the pork chop with salt, pepper, 1 Tablespoon of calamansi juice, 1 teaspoon Maggi seasoning and minced garlic. Place in a non reactive bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.
- Over a large skillet, over medium high heat, add the vegetable oil. Saute the onions for 2 to 3 minutes till transparent. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside for later.
- Add the pre-marinated pork chops to the same skillet. Pan fry on each side for about 8 to 10 minutes, turning them around so that all sides of the pork chop cook evenly. Remember that pork needs to be cooked thoroughly and completely for health and safety reasons. To test, pierce the pork chop with a fork to check if it is well done.
- In a separate small bowl, mix the calamansi, soy sauce, Maggi seasoning and broth. At the last 2 minutes of cooking, pour this over the pork chops in the skillet. Let the sauce come to a boil, then turn heat off. Serve the pork chops, garnished with the onions, over boiled white rice. Drizzle some of the sauce on top of the chops and sliced onions.
- Cook’s comments: Calamansi is the Filipino lime. It grows abundantly in the Philippines and is easily available. In the States, the calamansi grows and flourishes in warmer states. In my case, they are expensive in the east coast and I resort to using frozen calamansi, a cheaper alternative found in Asian groceries, freezer section. If desired, substitute with Meyer lemons and the flavors are just as fantastic.
- Full Disclosure: I was not paid to review the cookbook or any brand mentioned in this post. The book was a gift.
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