Sous Vide Pork Chinese Style. (Con)Fusion Cooking.

Sous Vide Pork Chinese Style (17 of 19)I’m managing to totally befuddle myself. Up to a few weeks ago, I was pretty clear on the principles of Fusion Cooking. As I understood it, all one had to do was add some chilli, garlic, coriander leaf and a slice of lime to any tried and trusted European dish. Hey Presto! – Fusion Cooking. A regular beef stew could be transformed by the adding of a couple of bashed lemongrass stalks and a ghost chilli. Fusion was easy to understand, if less easy to comprehend. So, when I decided to cook some Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin Chinese Style, it was more confusion than fusion.

  • My ingredients list was pretty ‘Oriental’ in it’s origin. Sous Vide Pork Chinese Style (1 of 19)Ingredients
  • 2 pork tenderloins
  • 1 tablespoon of 5 spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon of Szechuan peppercorns

The rest of the ingredients are used to make up the noodles. I served five of us with this lot.

  • 6 portions of noodles
  • 10 dried Chinese mushrooms
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 6 to 8 spring onions
  • A big handful of green beans
  • A big knob of ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of rice wine
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce

First trim and prepare the tenderloins.

Totally gratuitous meat trimming shot. Nothing too confusing about that.

Totally gratuitous meat trimming shot. Nothing too confusing about that.

Crush the peppercorns and mix with the 5 spice powder. Cut the tenderloins in half and roll in the spice mixture.

A completely extraneous meat rolling in spice photo.

A completely extraneous meat rolling in spice photo.

Vacuum seal the meat.

The spice is pressed into the meat when vacuum sealed.

The spice is pressed into the meat when vacuum sealed.

Side note on confusion: I have never come across any Oriental dishes cooked sous vide. Why is that? The sous vide method was originally tried out by a Brit, abandoned and rediscovered by some French and Americans and, as far as I can see, never used by the Orientals. Yet, it seems to be so appropriate to this type of dish. I’m discombobulated! 

Set the sous vide machine to 53ºC for an hour and pop the bags of meat into the water.

This blog is beginning to look like an advertisement for sous viding.

This blog is beginning to look like an advertisement for sous viding.

Then get on with chopping the ginger, mushrooms and the vegetables. Get the ginger into shreds, the mushrooms and vegetables into small bite size pieces.

About this size will do. The beans go very well with noodles.

About this size will do. The beans go very well with noodles.

Cook the noodles and reserve. Heat some oil in a wok and add the ginger. When this releases some aromas, add the rest of the vegetables.

Lots of colour makes this a pleasure to cook.

Lots of colour makes this a pleasure to cook.

Add the rice wine and stir fry until the colours get high and the veg is ‘al denté’ (strange  to use an Italian term.  for Oriental cooking). Add the soy sauce and stir it a bit.

Look at those wonderful vegetable colours.

Look at those wonderful vegetable colours.

Add the noodles and get ready to do a lot of heavy lifting. There is a lot to be stirred in the wok.

That will make a man of you. Stir those noodles until everything is combined.

That will make a man of you. Stir those noodles until everything is combined.

Turn the heat off. Take the pork out of its plastic wrapper. It looks and feels pretty strange at this stage.

Very odd looking pork. Note the seams that have formed around the middle. Confusing or what?

Very odd-looking pork. Note the seams that have formed around the middle. Confusing or what?

Heat a little oil in a frying pan and quickly (It happens very quickly) brown the pork. Slice it and serve it on a bed of the noodles.

Perfectly cooked pork with a spicy, crispy crust.

Perfectly cooked pork with a spicy, crispy crust.

My state of bewilderment was complete at this stage. This was the most delicious piece of Oriental anything I have ever tasted. I can’t understand why nobody (or so it seems to me) has not confused fusion cooking by adding in sous vide. I’ll be doing a lot more of this.

This didn't last long. We loved it.

This didn’t last long. We loved it.

Wine paring: My wine choice for this was not wine at all. Very confusing, I know. I served it with a glass of Rosé Lillet. It stood up well to the spice and salty soy.

If you get a chance to cook sous vide, try this. You will be left as befuddled and perplexed as me. Why has it not been done before? It’s a form of fusion confusion.

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Latest comments
  • Confusion he say:”looks delicious.”

  • Um… sorry to be a smartypants, but al dente is Italian and doesn’t need an accent on the final e. But you’re right, it’s still a weird usage in conjunction with Oriental cooking and ingredients. That pork looks absolutely sensational, and if I had a sous vide machine, I’d be cranking it up right about now…

    • How dumb of me! Thank you Kate. What would I do without you to patch my ignorance!

      • What would I do without your pouring shots to inspire me…?

  • thank you! I learn a new cooking method today. but do you need a sous vide machine to do it?

    Can it be cooked over a pot of hot water with proper gas control? And by cooking it using plastic bag would it have any side effect, I mean chemistry speaking.

    Anyway, nice tender looking pork! It looks juicy!

    • Hi Brian,
      The exact temperature is very important to the process. I would not want to try it without the device. On the plastic end of things, again, I would not like to commit myself to anything other than food grade bags. Thanks for the kind words.

      • Thanks for the reply Conor! btw, I saw you have a well seasoned wok. sorry for such trivial comment it is only because most western chef prefers pan so I am quite taken when i notice how well used your wok is!

        • Ha! Yes, That wok has been my trusted friend in the kitchen for over 20 years. It is very well seasoned and completely non stick as a result. Soap is never used in cleaning it. One of my best culinary investments ever.

          • Wow!!! Really? You are good!! Right no need soap. Just clean it over high fire and after dry wipe over with some oil… man! that is outstanding!

  • You’re obviously having fun with your sous vide! The pork looks exquisite. Well, it all does. I did sous vide pork tendeloin once, but haven’t bothered. Just like I did beef tenderloin once with the sous vide. It’s just so easy the traditional way, to me, and with great results, if the meat is cooked properly, off course. But have you tried pork loin sous vide yet? Now that has amazing results. Oh, and chicken breasts. And, in an case, it’s just fun, isn’t it?!!!

    • Thanks Mimi,
      Lots for me to try yet. What appealed to me about this one was the addition of the spices. I think I can have a lot of fun preparing some (con)fusion dishes. One that springs to mind is beef and black bean. All good fun.

  • Very nice! 🙂

    • Thanks MD. The pork was really special.

  • I often make pork tenderloin sous-vide, usually I cook at a slightly higher temp and for slightly longer – hubby has a huge problem with pink centers in tenderloin. I know, I know, but he is a great guy and I’m keeping him

    last week I made a bison rib-eye steak sous vide and it turned out awesome! That is a tricky piece of meat to cook, and sous-vide took great care of it 😉
    should be on the blog in the next couple of months, I hope

    • Thanks Sally, It’s good to see your husband has some redeeming features. The bison sounds delicious. I am still very much a sous vide novice and am looking forward to lots more fun in the bath.

      • Fun in the bath… now THAT’s funny! 😉

  • Conor, I don’t think there’s any problem with your blog becoming an ad for sous viding (sounds like something you’d do in a ski resort), seeing your obvious delight in cooking by new methods.

    With this in mind, I suggest your family build you a Fulacht Fiadh in your back garden next year, whereupon you take to burying all your meat in a pit with water and hot stones, whilst wearing leather and settling compensation cases with cattle. Hey Presto! One Chieftan’s Meat, and a nation wipes its eyes with gratitude.

    • The role of traditional Irish Chieftain sits easy with me. I can see the twitching curtain brigade approving of my usurping the residents association and replacing it with a tribal court.

      • Oh, now that is something I HAVE to see. Let me know if you’re selling tickets. I’ll take 32.

  • Delicious, Conor, and such great looking pork. Pink and juicy, just the way I like it. I think Confucius would approve as well. Glad you are working your way towards lower temps. This is actually even lower than the 55 degrees I’d use for pork tenderloin, although it is actually a good idea to do it this way if you brown the tenderloin straight from the sous-vide (as browning will increase the core temperature as well).
    I’ve done quite a bit of oriental sous-vide and my favorite is teriyaki, although ‘thai’ turbot sous-vide is also great.

    • I’m looking forward to various oriental sous vide dishes. Hopefully, I can marry the strong flavours and the delicate cooking process to good effect.

  • This does look absolutely amazing, Conor! Wow! Cooked to perfection. Your ad has convinced me of the merits of the sous-vide. It’s gadgetry at it’s best.

    • Thanks Frau,
      This one worked particularly well. I really am enjoying the process.

  • Totally disagree with your definition of ‘fusion cooking’ I am afraid!! It has nought to do with possible Asian ingredients: just delightful melding of ingredients from differing recipes from various parts of the world – for instance it may not be usual to serve an Asian stirfry with a North African couscous: yet it does work brilliantly! Now, chilli, garlic and coriander are used in most parts of the world: are they not ? 😀 !! So why denote them as ‘Asian’? [huge smile!!] Why would your culinary success in any way befuddle you ????

    • Eha,
      You are confusing me! You should see what passes here for ‘fusion’. As you know, the world is a melting pot anyway!

  • Liking this very much

  • I think I enjoy your blog more for the photo captions than the blog itself, lol! Good work Conor. My husband has decided he’ll never eat another pork tenderloin again because they come out so dry, even with my bestest preparation and on-point cooking temp. He’s a curmudgeon for sure when it comes to pork. Maybe one day I can figure out how to cook sous-vide without a fancy contraption, as he’s so old school when it comes to technology and such, I don’t think I could ever convince him it would be worth the investment. Nonetheless, I am ALWAYS delighted to read a new post of yours! Hugs!

    • Thanks Kathryn,
      Just tell him it’s pork!
      Hugs right back at ya’

  • Another fabulous dish. I love the colours of the dish as well. They really pop.

    • Thanks Virginia,
      I really enjoyed this one.

  • It sounds like you have gotten yourself a new toy and by the looks of it, creating absolutely delicious meals.

    • Karen,
      You should give the method a whirl. The meat and fish that I have managed to prepare so far have been a revelation. It’s the method, not the chef, for sure.

  • Your pork is cooked perfectly and this way just has to be healthier for you. I love the Asian twist on this dish. Simply delicious! Sharing, of course!

    • Thanks BAM. High praise, particularly from you, in your part of the world.

  • I love the fact that your pork is blushing slightly..I think people can still be a little nervous about pork when there’s no need to be! Great looking dish fella!

    • Thanks Rory. For sure pork doesn’t carry the dangers it used to. Still best to cook properly. The sous vide is fantastic in that regard.

  • oh WOW, simply damn delicious dessert!!!
    i also made a batch of ziplock and rice cooker waterbath sort of sousvide too right now, i ope it turn out as good as yours Conor

    • It’s important to get the temperature right Dedy. Otherwise, you could be very sick. But, I know you know that.

      • Yup, it’s all about the time and temperature chart to break the meat and also killed all pathogens and parasites on it

  • o i forgot to mention that i seasoned my pork with Indonesian sweet soy sauce or kecap manis, chinese five spice and for sure chillies too…..

  • Looks amazing! I just bought a sous vide machine (Anova) and I can’t wait to start experiment with it! I’m thinking I’ll try eggs first 🙂

    • I have avoided the eggs. As I type, I have a slab of Jacob’s Ladder at 57°, 36 hours gone, 12 to go. Can’t wait.

  • yep, lovely! love your writing and your photos. That pork looks outstanding. I once tried this very same seasoning on a thanksgiving turkey… you can unfollow me now hahahah. It was great. Five spice powder tastes of somewhat like holidays hahaha, at least in my crazy head 🙂

    • If we want success, we must also fail. Boy, do I fail! Still, I love it and will press on regardless.
      I am thinking particularly about this evening’s duck and apricot sauce. Major fail but major lesson. I’ll get it right next time.

      • yep, the only way to learn. Now you got me thinking about duck, it’s been a while but I love it, and up here in Vancouver duck is really good.

        • We are stuck with one type of duck here in Ireland. They are nice but, not as nice as the lovely fat laden French duck. Mmmmm…

          • ah the french and they’re awesome ingredients! 🙂 we work with what we have! It’s all good.

  • hi.sorry for my ignorance , what or which do you mean “5 spice powder” –

  • One of your pictures shows the pork loin as it comes out of the vacuum sealed bag. It has embedded seams. Mine also has a crosshatch pattern from the food saver bag. How do you get rid of these markings other than searing over high heat?

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