Spicy Pork with Sea Cucumber

Spicy Pork with Sea Cucumber

Recently, I posted a recipe for Sea Cucumber with Beef-balls which was very Cantonese in spirit. The dish pictured above is somewhat similar, except it replaces the Beef with Pork and ramps up the flavor profile considerably. The umami quotient is given more depth with Fermented Shrimp Paste, and a spicy fire is produced with Cumin and Chili.

Ingredient Notes

The Recipe Card below calls for reconstituted dried Cucumber. If you are fortunate to have access to the fresh article, use it by all means. If using the dried, you can reconstitute it by soaking using the process outlined in my Introduction to Dried Sea Cucumber.

For the Chili Paste, I used a Sambal Oelek but you can substitute any sort of chili paste you like depending on your preference and heat tolerance.

The Fermented Shrimp Paste you use is also a matter of personal choice. There are many varieties available, including a number of very pungent Chinese ones. You may wish to consider simply incorporating the Dried Shrimp Paste a.k.a. Belacan, or a preparation made with it, such as Sambal Terasi. Alternatively, you could even substitute with a Sambal Ikan Bilis, if you like. This uses anchovy rather than shrimp, and will change the flavor profile, and even the texture somewhat, but would work nicely as well.

The Method

Reconstituted Sea Cucumber
Reconstituted Sea Cucumber

Once you have reconstituted your Sea Cumber, cut it in half lengthwise and then slice each half into thin sections.

Frying Sea Cucumber slices with Cumin
Frying Sea Cucumber slices with Cumin

Heat a little oil in a pan over moderate heat and add the cumin. As soon as the aroma arises, add the sea cucumber slices and saute until there is a slight crispiness on the outer surface.

Simmering Sea Cucumber in an aromatic broth
Simmering Sea Cucumber in an aromatic broth

Now add the water, shrimp paste, chili paste, sugar and vinegar and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer fairly briskly until the liquid has been reduced by almost half.

Browning Pork meatballs
Browning Pork meatballs

While the sauce is reducing, mix together the Pork, Scallion, Garlic and Ginger paste and form 16 balls. Brown these in a little oil and then remove.

Finishing Spicy Pork with Sea Cucumber
Finishing Spicy Pork with Sea Cucumber

Finally, allow the sauce to come to a vigorous, bubbling simmer and thicken with the cornstarch solution. Add the beef and broccoli and, as soon as these are both heated through, plate and serve.

Your Recipe Card:

Spicy Pork with Sea Cucumber

This Spicy Pork with Sea Cucumber dish combines the unique texture of Sea Cucumber with Pork, Chili, and the Umami punch of Fermented Shrimp.
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: Broccoli, Chili Paste, Cumin, Fermented Shrimp Paste, Ground Pork, Dried Sea Cucumber
Author: John Thompson

Ingredients

  • 1 dried Sea Cucumber reconstituted;
  • 1 Tbsp. Cumin Seed;
  • 2 Cups Water;
  • 3 Tbsp. Fermented Shrimp Paste
  • 1.5 Tbsp. Sugar;
  • ¼ cup White Vinegar;
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp. Chili Paste
  • 1 lb. ground Pork
  • 1 Scallion chopped;
  • 1 Tbsp. each Ginger and Garlic Paste;
  • 1 Tbsp. Cornstarch mixed to a slurry with a little water;
  • 1 ½ cups blanched Broccoli Florets;

Instructions

  • Slice the reconstituted Sea Cumber in half lengthwise, and then cut each half horizontally in to thin slices.
  • Fry the Sea Cumber slices in hot oil over a medium flame along with the Cumin until the Sea Cumber starts to take on a slight crispiness on the edges.
  • Add the Water, Fermented Shrimp Paste, Chili Paste, Sugar and Vinegar to the pot and simmer slowly until the liquid has reduced by half.
  • Mix the Pork with the Scallion, Garlic and Ginger paste, stirring well, and then form 16 balls. Fry these in oil until just browned and cooked through.
  • Bring the pot to a boil, thicken the sauce with the Cornstarch slurry, then add the meatballs and Broccoli. Cook for a few minutes until all is heated through and then serve.

Comments, questions or suggestions most welcome!