It was so hard choosing what to bring with us to Singapore. I don’t think we ended up bringing that much, although I was lucky enough to be able to bring quite a few boxes of cook books that I couldn’t live without. In hindsight, I wish we brought more kitchen things. I didn’t expect kitchen gadgets and tools to be so hard to find and so expensive. Pro tip: if you live in Singapore and are having the same issue, check out Temple St not far from Chinatown MRT station. There is quite a few shops along the street that still didn’t have everything I needed / wanted, but they do have a massive selection compared to everywhere else. I still can’t find a suitably priced mandolin and I can’t find an Asian style mortar and pestle anywhere…yes, in Asia, go figure.
One thing that I immediately regretted not bringing was our combined slow and pressure cooker. After weeks of searching, we finally found an ok slow cooker, but it was really expensive and I had my heart set on the convenient and space saving combination of slow and pressure cooker. On my trip back home in April, I was so happy to be given a similar one. I happily taped it up and eagerly waited for it to arrive on the luggage conveyor belt at Changi. It even has the type of power cord you can remove, so we’ve swapped it out with a Singaporean power cord and I have used it multiple times already. This recipe uses the slow cooking function and soon, I’ll be posting an amazing home made stock recipe that uses the pressure cooking function.
Root Beer may seem like a strange flavouring for pork but it works really well. It does end up being quite sweet but the spicy sweet potato chips and tangy slaw cuts through that really nicely. I personally love Root Beer but Key does not. Even he agreed that this was tasty though. By all means, serve this with something other then the chips and slaw, but make sure you replace it with something tangy or hot to help cut through that sweetness.
Root Beer is prevalent in Singapore, you can even get post mix Root Beer at the movies *heaven,* but by all means use Dr. Pepper or even just coke as a substitute. You’ll get the same sweetness.
Leave some of the onion skin on. There is so much flavour in it and you’ll end up straining it all off anyway.
I mainly use the slow cooker for lean cuts of meat as it’s so forgiving. If I have a fattier cut of meat, I tend to slow cook it in the oven instead, as you get better rendering of fat in my opinion. The slow cooker is perfect for cuts like chicken breast and these pork loins that I used.
Do you like my new cleaver? It’s amazing for shredding cabbage and lettuce and for smashing garlic, but I use it for nearly everything. It’s sharp and was so cheap. I LOVE it.
You could alternatively use a mandolin to shred your cabbage or even cheat and buy one of those pre-made slaw packs. If you do though, it’s well worth adding the extras in this recipe and throwing away the creamy dressing and using this one instead. Don’t get me wrong, I love a pre-made creamy slaw dressing, but it’s too rich paired with this sweet pork.
Chop your apple into fine batons but don’t worry too much, it’s not a knife skills competition.
We eat a lot of sweet potato chips. The spice mix on this complements the sweet pork, but we often make them with just a bit of salt and pepper and olive oil.
The slow cooker is ideal for getting this shredded texture out of lean meats.
Saucy sweetness. The pork will soak up a lot of the sweet, reduced sauce.
The pork and slaw would also be amazing in a bread roll *drools*
Slow Cooked Pork with Cajun Spiced Sweet Potato Chips and Tangy Slaw
For the Slow Cooked Pork
Ingredients – serves 4 and any leftovers freeze really well
- 600g boneless pork loin. I had 2 x 300g pieces
- 600ml Root Beer at room temperature
- 1 medium brown onion, chopped roughly and some skin left on
- 2 whole star anise
- ½ tbs sea salt flakes plus extra for seasoning after slow cooking
- ½ tsp cracked black pepper plus extra for seasoning after slow cooking
- ⅔ cup of chicken stock or alternatively water
- juice of half a lemon (save the other half for the slaw)
- Place all ingredients except the lemon juice in the slow cooker.
- Cook till meat can be shredded. I slow cooked this for 7 hours.
- After the slow cooking time has finished, remove any large chunks of meat that haven’t fallen apart and set aside. Put a fry pan or wide based saucepan on medium heat.
- Once the fry pan is hot, strain the liquid from the slow cooker into it. The wide base will allow the sauce to reduce quickly.
- Pick out any shreds of meat in the strained ingredients and set aside with the rest of the pork. Discard the rest of the solid ingredients. It will be mostly onion.
- Boil to reduce the Root Beer sauce till it is about a quarter of it’s original quantity. This will take about 30 minutes.
- While the sauce is reducing, shred the pork with two forks or your fingers.
- Once the sauce has reduced enough, add the lemon juice then check for seasoning. Mine did not need any more salt but it did need some more pepper.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the shredded meat to sauce. Simmer lightly till the pork has warmed back through. This will take around 3 minutes and the pork will soak up a lot of the sauce.
- Serve with the sweet potato chips and slaw.
For the Tangy Slaw
Ingredients – serves 4
- 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- juice of half a lemon (use the leftover half from the Root Beer sauce)
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- ½ tsp celery salt
- ½ tsp ground white pepper
- ½ bunch of spring onions, green and white parts sliced finely
- 3 big handfuls of shredded green cabbage. This will be around ¾ of a small cabbage.
- 1 small green apple, cut into matchsticks
- 2 tsp capers, chopped finely
- 2 slices of green pickled jalapenos, chopped finely
- Place a metal or glass bowl large enough for the slaw in the fridge.
- Make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, celery salt and pepper.
- Combine the rest of the ingredients and toss with the dressing. Transfer the slaw to the cold bowl and place back in the fridge. Letting the slaw chill and marinate in the dressing for about 20 minues before serving really helps with the texture and flavour.
For the Cajun Spiced Sweet Potato Chips
Ingredients – serves 4
- ¼ tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp sea salt flakes
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp ground coriander
- ¼ tsp whole fennel seeds
- ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
- ¼ tsp dried onion flakes
- ¼ tsp dried garlic powder
- ¼ tsp sweet paprika
- ½ tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large sweet potatoes peeled and cut into thick chips
- Pre-heat oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Place all ingredients, except the sweet potatoes and olive oil into a food processer or mortar and pestle. Grind enough to break up the fennel seeds slightly and to bring the ingredients all together.
- Toss the sweet potato chips with the olive oil and spice mix and roast till soft in the middle and starting to brown on the edges. It will take around 40 minutes.