My first encounter with this wonderful spicy pork dish was a New Years Eve night (say old years night in the Caribbean) at my cousin’s home. They had recently come back from Trinidad and while there another cousin of ours made a batch of this to partner the adult beverages everyone were partaking in. In Trinidad and Tobago we have what we refer to as “cuttas”, as the Spanish have Tapas as sides for drinking. We have an assortment of spicy, fatty, fried and otherwise alcohol friendly foods which are a big part of our drinking culture. Chow is typically made from tart fruit (like green mangoes)and pickled with extra hot scotch bonnet peppers, lemon juice and herbs. But in this recipe we’ll replace the mango with marinated pork, fried until crispy and golden.
1-2 lbs pork
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Caribbean green seasoning
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2-3 cups veg oil
Juice 1 lemon (or lime)
1 scotch bonnet pepper (more if you want it more spicy)
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon chopped Shado Beni (or cilantro)
1/2 small red onion
pinch sea salt
pinch black pepper
IMPORTANT!: If doing this dish gluten free, do go through the entire list of ingredients (especially the soy sauce) to ensure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs.
Place the clean pieces of pork (I like using pork with a bit of fat – cheap cut) in a bowl and season with the Caribbean Green Seasoning, soy sauce, grated ginger and black pepper. Mix well and allow it to marinate in the fridge for at least a couple hours.
Heat the vegetable oil in a wide pan on a medium flame, then gently go in with the pieces of marinated pork. Use paper towels to blot out any extra moisture off the pieces of pork so it doesn’t splatter back at you when added to the hot oil. Fry until golden and crisp (about 20-25 minutes) flipping every 4-6 minutes. I used the ends of pork ribs, which were very tender and about 1/4 of an inch thick (about 1/2 inch tick at the thickest spot).
Remove from the hot oil, place on paper towels to soak up any excess fat and allow to cool before cutting into 3/4-1 inch pieces. Set aside in a bowl.
Prep the other ingredients as the pork cools a bit (thinly slice the onion, scallions and scotch bonnet pepper \ crush the garlic). Remember to wear gloves and wash your hands immediately after handing scotch bonnet peppers.
Now it’s just a matter of assembling everything together, give it a good mix and finally go in with the lemon juice. I didn’t have any shado beni, nor cilantro.. but that would be a key ingredient to add in here as well.
You can serve this both warm and cool, but to be honest it’s MUCH better a bit warm, as the sort of pickle effect you get from the hot peppers and lemon juice just seems to scream at your taste buds. Not your typical Caribbean chow, but definitely a dish to serve when you have friends over or just need something spicy in your life. Great as a snack, makes an excellent side dish.. even better on sandwiches. Special HAIL OUT to my cousin Sophie for this wicked introduction!