Little is known about the origins of hoisin sauce other than it is Cantonese in origin. The name hoisin comes from the Chinese word for seafood and earlier formulations might have had a seafood ingredients to provide the umami flavor. Today, it doesn’t contain any seafood. Even though there is no seafood usually used, it has a slight “seafood” flavor”, hence the name. It’s funny how things change so drastically over time. 🙂
Hoisin sauce is darkly-colored in appearance, and is sweet and salty in taste. Although regional variants exist, hoisin sauce usually includes soybeans, fennel, red chili peppers and garlic. Vinegar, 5-Chinese spice and sugar are also commonly added. Hoisin sauce is used in both Cantonese cooking and Vietnamese cooking and can be used as a dipping sauce, a sauce for meats of all kinds, or for vegetables and wraps, especially lettuce wraps.
We had some pork chops down, and Larry decided he wanted something with an Asian flair. I went through my extensive library and came up with something both different and delicious. I decided on making some hoisin pork chops that I served with some Asian vegetables, rice, and some fried potstickers, with wine on the side, of course.
I made the sauce then used some of it a s marinade for my pork and used more to top it when everything was done. I marinated my pork for about 2-3 hours. It came out so juicy and tender, and of course, full of flavor. This time, I grilled the pork chops, but you can pan-fry it or roast it as well.
1 cup hoisin sauce
2 TBSP sambal oelek sauce
2 TBSP garlic
2 TBSP ginger
1/2 cup dry red wine
salt & pepper to taste
Mix everything together and combine well. I poured some over my pork chops and let them marinade for about 2-3 hours.
I like lots of vegetables in my foods too, so I cut up a bunch of vegetables and sauteed them in hot oil. This time I used baby corn, green beans, mushrooms, sweet potato and a shallot, all sliced very thin or cut in matchstick style.
Once everything was cooked, I started layering it all up. I purposely chose not to add the sauce to the vegetables because I did not want it to be to overwhelming. So instead, I layered everything, starting with rice, a little dab of my hoisin sauce, then the sliced pork, with more sauce on top. I added the vegetables on top of the pork. It made the colors really pop and stand out, plus the hoisin sauce, which is a strong, boldly flavored sauce, did not overpower the flavors of the vegetables. I meant to add some sliced green onions on top of my vegetables, but forgot. Oh well. Sometimes, that happens. I did, however remember to add some crispy fried onion pieces on top, which was a good addition.
This dish was so colorful and full of flavors and just seemed to hit the spot. Because of the spiciness of the sauce, I would recommend a lighter, more fruity white wine, such as a Riesling or a Gewertztraminer (sp), although a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio will do just fine as well.
Stay safe, stay well, and enjoy the day. ‘Til next time.