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Recipe: Five-Spice Rum Pork And Vegetables

This is a dish that I created using leftover ingredients I had on hand, but is very much in the style of any Chinese stir-fry in Trinidad, using meat, sweet soy sauce, rum and hot pepper as key ingredients. It is good with plain white rice or a flat bread such as pita or roti. Chicken, shrimp or beef can be substituted for the pork.

Makes 4 servings

1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce (available in Chinese markets)

1 tablespoon mirin (rice wine)

2 tablespoons dark rum

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 pound pork shoulder cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

1/2 small onion, minced

1-inch piece fresh ginger, finely minced

1/2 Scotch bonnet pepper, seeded and finely minced

3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 christophene (chayote) squash, seeded, peeled and cut into cubes

1 small onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 red bell pepper, cut into cubes

1 cup shredded napa cabbage

1/4 cup water

2 scallions, trimmed and cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces

In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, mirin, rum and salt. Add the cubed pork and stir well to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Heat a wok or a wide skillet on medium-high and add the oil. Heat the oil for 30 seconds and then add the onion, ginger and Scotch bonnet pepper. Fry, stirring continuously, for 15 seconds, and then add the garlic slices. Fry for 1 minute more, or until the garlic begins to brown.

Add the pork pieces and stir well to coat. Fry 2 to 3 minutes, or until the pork starts to brown slightly, stirring often.

Add the squash, onion and bell pepper and stir well, cooking for 2 minutes. Add the shredded cabbage and stir well to coat. Pour in the water and stir well so all the ingredients are combined. Simmer for 10 minutes. The cabbage should be wilted and the pork cooked through.

Add the scallion pieces and toss lightly. Cook for 1 minute more and pour into a serving dish with sauce.

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Ramin Ganeshram