Light and fresh, these caramelised pork rolls seemed just the thing for a midweek supper. I had the idea after having a craving for satay sauce (an absolute favourite of mine) the urge to wrap them in a rice paper pancake stemmed from a shop in my local Chinese store and the purchase of a giant pack of pancakes and a rather heavenly pomelo. For those of you not familiar, the pomelo is a fruit related to the citrus family. It’s thick, heavy fragrant skin – similar to that of a grapefruit – coats another, equally thick, layer of white, bitter pith which belies the sweet, and if you’re lucky, juicy segments of fruit below. A sweet grapefruit comes to mind when I think of their flavour, but really, they’re a fruit unto themselves and completely heavenly when eaten as a pudding, especially after a light and delicious supper of pork rolls with peanut and ginger sauce; which leads me nicely to the recipe.
It’s really very simple to prepare, perhaps the only tricky bit comes from the actual rolling of the pancakes. I find that my first attempt is usually fairly haphazard and then they get better from there on. The sauce adds a nice creamy addition to the filling, but I would recommend serving them with an extra dipping sauce. There are some good sauces around but I usually make my own (the inclusion of vinegar being an issue for me and bought sauce): a mix of lime juice, chilli, coriander, sugar, ginger and toasted sesame oil. It’s just right to finish off these lovely rolls.
CARAMELISED PORK ROLLS WITH PEANUT AND GINGER SAUCE
Serves 4 as a starter or accompaniment or 2 as a main
8 large rice paper pancakes or 16 small rice paper pancakes
½ a cucumber
3 spring onions
A small bunch of coriander
For the pork rolls
500g lean pork fillet
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp five spice
For the sauce
3 tbsp smooth peanut butter
1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
1 ½ tbsp hot water
1 ½ tsp maple syrup
¾ inch piece of ginger
1 small red chilli
Carefully slice the pork into two fillets if it’s in one large piece and set aside. Finely grate the ginger and finely chop the chilli, discarding the seeds if you don’t want it too hot. Mix together all of the ingredients for the marinade, season and pour into a sealable food bag or shallow dish. Add the pork fillets to the marinade and coat well. Leave to marinade in the fridge for an hour or up to 24 hours.
Next, make up the sauce. Mix together the grated ginger, chilli, lemon juice, syrup and peanut butter. Add the hot water, bit by bit, stirring as you go, until you have a thick and creamy sauce.
Heat a large heavy based pan or griddle over a medium flame until hot. Add the pork fillets and marinade to the pan and cook for around 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through and caramelised on the outside – around 15 - 20 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside to rest before slicing into strips.
Peel the cucumber and slice into ½ cm thick strips. Trim the spring onions and cut into 5 cm lengths before finely slicing into strips. Roughly chop the coriander. Fill a large bowl with boiling water, leave to sit for a minute and then place a rice paper pancake into the water, leaving it submerged for 30 seconds or until it becomes transparent and pliable to the touch. Remove from the water and lay flat onto a chopping board. You may need to very lightly oil the board first so that the pancakes don’t stick to it.
Place a spoonful of the sauce into the base of the pancake and run it along its length. Add a scattering of cucumber, coriander, spring onion and pork. Fold in both ends of the roll and then fold one length of the roll over the edges of the ends. Carefully roll up the pancake, enclosing the filling and making a neat cylinder. Slice in half and serve with a little extra sauce.