croustillant, adjective (croustillant (m.), croustillante (f.), croustillants (m.pl.), croustillantes (f.pl.) = crispy, crunchy (pronounced krous-ti-yaan (m.sing. & m.pl), krous-ti-yaant (f.sing., f.pl.), no particular stress).
From the noun une croûte = a crust.
Une histoire croustillante = a tasty story, a bit of a naughty story
My recipe today – porc croustillant (otherwise known as boulettes de porc which it is in fact not) – is one of my oldest recipes. I used to do it for my children often, my son loves it, I’m not sure about my daughter… It’s cheap, quick and easy. One small pork chop will do one person, a large one will do two. I use côtes de porc échine, but there seems to be no translation for this. I asked an Australian butcher who works around here, and he didn’t know what it was in English. So I’ll try to explain. It is a pork chop, but not the nice shaped one with a little border of fat that one usually buys, but a rather mis-shapen, fatty, scraggy one with a little bit of bone at one end. So if you can’t find this, just buy a cheap bit of pork, you are only going to cut it into little pieces anyway. You can use filet mignon of pork, but it’s really too lean. There’s much more flavour in a fatty bit of pork.
For two people you will need:
- one large or two small chops (or 200gr pork)
- 1/2 tsp salt (I put more but I over-salt everything)
- 10 grains of szechuan pepper (optional), use whole
- 3/4 tsp coriander seeds (or powdered coriander)
- 1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
- 1tsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 clove grated fresh garlic
- 1tbs oriental sesame oil
- 1 scant tbs Kikkoman soy sauce
- 2 tsb cornflour
- corn oil for frying
- Cut the pork off the bone and into small slices (doesn’t matter how irregular they are).
- Place in a bowl with all the other ingredients except the cornflour and marinate for at least half an hour.
- Heat some oil in a frying pan or wok, not enough for deep frying, but more than just a tbs. A few tbs let’s say.
- Add the cornflour to the pork, stir to coat, add more if necessary, it should be fairly dry; the whole thing tends to form a ball at this stage, don’t worry, you can separate the pieces when they are in the pan.
- Fry briskly until the pork is cooked through and is crispy all over, turning it several times and separating the bits with tongs or cooking chopsticks.
- Serve with plain boiled rice, or with lettuce leaves, mint and the green parts of spring onions.
I used to add an egg to the mixture before the cornflour. That makes a different type of batter around the meat, but requires more oil to fry.
Not French at all, as you have guessed. Not really anything, I just invented it. It’s a taste I like. Actually, come to think of it, the inspiration probably came from a book I bought about 45 years ago, my first book of Chinese cuisine by Kenneth Lo: The Complete Chinese Cookbook. I still have it on a shelf next to me as I write.
Not exactly Weight Watchers stuff… but lighter if you use salad as an accompaniment and not rice. Just roll up pieces of pork and some mint and spring onion tops in large green lettuce leaves. You can add a dipping sauce if you like.