For over a week, I observed with growing anxiety the dwindling supply of meat in our freezer. I had given up on online groceries but we still did not want to take risks by entering crowded supermarkets and groceries. That was the time we tried a store selling Asian food and ingredients. Speedy and Alex had gone there weeks earlier so we knew they sold meat. Pretty pricey choice cuts though because they were meant to go on tabletop grills, Korean style.
So, on the day I made an online purchase and Speedy opted to pick up the goods rather than wait for delivery (remember we already had bad experiences with deliveries), meat wasn’t among the items I ordered. To my surprise, Speedy came home with a 500-gram tray of pork. Maybe he was already craving pork at that time. Or, perhaps, he decided that pricier pork was a better option than no pork at all.
The challenge, of course, was how to stretch 500 grams of pork into as many meals as possible. Had we decided to grill the meat slices as they were meant to be cooked, we’d have one pork meal and then revert to canned food and instant noodles again. Alex got creative. Only three of us eat pork anyway, so the meat should be enough for two meals. She took half of the pork slices, cut them into strips and sauteed the meat with an onion and chayote.
It’s a good thing that there is one sauce that we’re rarely without. Vietnamese mixed sauce (we learned how to make it properly in a cooking class in Saigon) is made with nothing more than patis (fish sauce), kalamansi juice, sugar, garlic and chopped chilies. That was all the seasoning that the pork and chayote strips needed.
When Alex was done in the kitchen, I cooked oyster mushroom fried rice for Sam although I ended up making enough for four people.
Sauteed Pork and Chayote with Vietnamese Mixed Fish Sauce
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 250 grams tender cut of pork sliced thinly then cut into strips
- 1 onion peeled and thinly sliced
- 400 grams chayote (one and a half were used in this recipe) peeled, cored and cut into the same size and shape as the pork
For the Vietnamese mixed fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon patis (fish sauce)
- 1 tablespoon kalamansi juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon finely sliced chili
- Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan.
- Sear the pork strips in hot oil until lightly browned.
- Lower the heat to medium; add the onion and chayote. Stir.
- Mix together all the ingredients for the sauce and add to the pork and vegetables.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chayote is done (it won't take long at that size) and most of the sauce has been soaked up.
- Serve hot with rice.
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