One of the many things I love about Thailand and actually about South-East Asia as a whole is the sheer number of celebrations and festivals throughout the year. Festivals from different religions and different cultures can all be celebrated - the more the merrier! It's now a habit that whenever I hear of a fete or festival day I mark it in my diary. This week not only sees the start of the Year of the Horse on 31 January but also the French Fete de la Chandeleur on 2 February, or crepe day, to mark Candlemas.
Since I don't write about French food - although I do love it and do cook it and will be having crepes next Sunday - I'll concentrate on something good to eat to celebrate Chinese New Year and having made this BBQ pork every Chinese New Year for about five or six years, it is now my traditional new year dinner.
I'm not sure why I never make it any other time of year as it is really easy and is not only good served just as it is hot from the oven with some steamed rice but also so good used in other dishes including stir fried noodles or fried rice or in sandwiches such as a Vietnamese banh mi. (Chinese) new year resolution: cook more BBQ pork.
This does need several hours or overnight to marinate so don't start making it thinking it will be quick.
Serves four, or fewer but with leftovers ...
8 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 heaped teaspoon Chinese five-spice
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1lb pork tenderloin
First combine all the ingredients except the pork in a bowl and whisk or stir until the sugar is dissolved
Trim the pork of any big bits of fat and silverskin, place in a dish and pour over the marinade. Turn the pork so it's all covered.
Cover the dish and put in the fridge for a few hours or preferably overnight, turning the meat a couple of times during that time.
Preheat the oven to Gas 8 / 230C / 450F.
Line a roasting tray with foil and place the pork staight onto the foil or on a rack in the tray if you have one. Keep the marinade for basting.
Roast for 15-20 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to Gas 4 / 180C / 350F.
Turn the pork and cover with half the remaining marinade and cook for another ten minutes then turn and cover with the rest of the marinade.
Roast for another 10-15 minutes until cooked through but still a tiny bit pink.
Take out the pork and put it on a board to rest, covered, for a further ten minutes.
Serve straight away, in slices with rice and green vegetables, or cool and keep in the fridge to use in other recipes.
Happy new year!
Xin Nian Kuai Le， 新年快乐