I vaguely recall having Western food for dinner once in a blue moon when I was young. My father would bring us to the hawker centre at the West Coast market and order pork or chicken chop for all of us, while waiting for my mum to come by and have dinner with us during her meal break from work. She used to work at the Ginza Plaza in Clementi as a store assistant, and would work till late at night as well as over the weekends. My dad would always help to order her share of dinner, and we would all wait for her to join us at the table before we tucked in.
I can’t really recall how the pork chop tasted though, possibly because I have never been a person who likes meat or craves for it. What I do remember are the huge dollop of baked beans, coleslaw and the soft buns that sat alongside the pork chop. And I probably enjoyed those more than the meat itself. Ok, and maybe the gravy that came with the pork chop but that – I have little memory of as well…
Growing up, I’ve ordered Western food for less than the fingers on my one hand could count. Seriously, the servings from the Western stalls are HUGE, and there are always so many sides that come with an order – fries, whipped potato – you name it they have it. The one impressionable memory I have of such an occasion was a meal I had as an undergraduate with my ex-colleagues from PSA, at the NUS arts canteen. The Western food stall there was quite popular there and so I got them to order from this stall since they made a rare trip down to meet me. They treated me to a HUGE plate of chicken chop, with fries AND spaghetti as sides. My goodness! Which was the main and which was the side? I recall that the chicken chop was nice though, and so was its gravy, though I think I left more than half the plate untouched and felt damn guilty after the meal (for wasting my ex-colleague’s money too).
Indeed, ordering Western food such as chops at an eatery outside is never an option for me, and I don’t really crave for it at all. Cooking it at home is something that does not occur to me very instinctively too. The good thing though, is that I can control the quantity of the sides and the size of the meat. So here goes… my first attempt at chops would be pork chops.
And with just one side dish – baked potatoes.
Let’s dig in!
- Pork loin: 4 pieces (bone in or out)
- Salt: a pinch
- Ground blackpepper: a pinch
- Garlic powder: 1/2 tsp
- Olive oil: 1 tbsp
- Butter: 1 tbsp
- Garlic: 3 cloves, finely chopped
- Honey: 1 tbsp
- Water: 1/3 cup
- Apple cider vinegar: 1 tbsp
- English parsley: 1 stalk, finely chopped
- Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
- Season pork loins with salt, ground blackpepper and garlic powder.
- Heat olive oil in pan. Sear chops on both sides till golden brown (4min per side). Remove from heat and set aside.
- Heat butter in pan on medium heat. Saute garlic till fragrant.
- Add in honey, water & apple cider vinegar. Cook till slightly thickened.
- Add pork chops back into pan. Baste for 1min.
- Place pan into oven. Bake 5min.
- Garnish with parsley to serve.
This recipe was kindly adapted from Cafe Delites’ ‘Easy Honey Garlic Pork Chops‘.
As you could perhaps tell from the images, I experimented with this dish using one pork loin and one pork shoulder butt. The butt was definitely tougher and not as tender as the loin, given it’s more suited to braising and stewing . Well, it was just for fun, and out of curiousity really. But with the sauce, anything goes. Well, at least I know now to use the loins next time!