Saturday, August 30, 2008

Lime-Marinated Pork Skewers with Ginger-Guava Jam and Five-Grain Rice

This is our entry to The Royal Food Joust (hosted by the Leftover Queen).

This month's Joust ingredients juxtaposed ingredients that are familiar to us (citrus and ginger) with the slightly unfamiliar (whole grains).

As in most kitchens, citrus is a vital ingredient in ours, and the usual suspects are lemons and limes. I am still hoping for a calamansi source, but then I am an eternal optimist.

We love ginger in this house. My mother uses it in all of her dishes. In all of the non-pork dishes, that is.

Pork and ginger together?
After quite an extended discussion, we decided to break with tradition and use ginger with pork. It's not like we don't eat pork that has been gingerly touched or lasciviously lathered by the rhizome in some way. To wit, our father regularly orders a ginger pork dish in Japanese restaurants.

Given the components of the dish, we thought pork would be the ideal meat to play against the flavours. The meat has a sweet, full richness that is also surprisingly, pleasantly light. Little piggy will not overpower the other elements of the dish.

Playing choose-the-best-protein, of course, we also could have used the gravitas of beef or the gaminess of duck to the advantage of this dish. Not chicken though, because I believe chicken would have just disappeared here and would not have held its own. Not lamb either, because it just might be too gamey in this application.

My point being that we did consider other proteins and we did give some thought to breaking the ordinance against a pork-ginger pairing. We don't disobey just for the sake of disobeying. ;)

Whole grains
The whole grains component is the trickiest one, because we do not really use a lot of whole grains in the house. Whole wheat flour, but the rules forbid flour unless we mill it ourselves. We used to cook some brown rice in addition to white, but I got lazy and just had to content myself with the white rice everybody ate.

We couldn't really decide on a grain. We could have used corn but corn would have overpowered everything else in the dish.

On a side note, our original idea for this Joust was some kind of caramelized popcorn, with orange and ginger somewhere in there. Lo and behold, Maybelle's mom of feeding maybelle also had the same idea! This just proves that great minds do think alike. ;)

You can check out the pictures of her gloriously delicious popcorn balls. I can just imagine the first bite of caramel popcorn goodness!

We chanced upon this bag and it had -- not one, not two, not three, but FIVE -- different grains! And even better, four of the five (I'm not sure about the black glutinous rice) are whole grains.

Unpolished rice, oats, black glutinous rice, millet and pearl barley.

And they're from the Good Boy's Farm, you know. Just to confirm that these whole grains are good for you.

The dish came together pretty quickly. To cook the rice, our good ol' rice cooker did all the work. Look, it turned pink!

The item that took longest to do was the ginger-guava jam, but that's unattended time. It contained guava, chile peppers, ginger, lime juice, garlic and sugar, all cooked down until, well, jammy!

Recipe here

Now, to the pork! We bought pork shoulder butt already sliced very thinly. (They were pre-sliced for hotpot.) I squeezed some lime juice onto them and added a small splash of fish sauce. They were so thin that all they needed was about 10 minutes in the marinade. I doubled the slices up, rolled and skewered them.

A quick pan-fry and they were done.

This was very good, and the pork butt was a well-chosen cut. You could do this with something leaner, like a pork tenderloin or the pork loin, but it just would not have the same inside-the-mouth-flavour-explosiveness as a fattier cut.

The guava-ginger jam complemented the pork and rounded out all of the flavours. The heat coming from the ginger and the peppers balanced out the fattiness of the meat. The five-grain rice worked out well too, because its earthiness gave each spoonful (rice-pork-jam) some heft.

Admittedly, we wanted to grill the pork skewers too but it's been raining like crazy here in Vancouver for the past week (it feels like November right now), so I didn't want to go outside to fire up the grill. If grilling, we would have not gotten pork butt sliced so thinly. A little thicker, and skewered like we would do with a Philippine-style barbecue, stitching the skewer across the meat. It would have made for a nicer presentation, methinks.

Lime-Marinated Pork Skewers with Ginger-Guava Jam and Five-Grain Rice
One serving

2 Tablespoons ginger-guava jam

1/4 cup five-grain rice
1/2 cup water, approximate

1/3 pound pork shoulder butt, sliced thinly
1 lime, juiced
2 teaspoons fish sauce

Make ginger-guava jam according to recipe. Spoon about 2 tablespoons for condiment use.

Cook five-grain rice in rice cooker, with water quantity according to manufacturer's instructions.

Marinate pork slices in lime juice and fish sauce for 10 minutes. Roll up slices and skewer. If the pork slices are very thin, you may need to double up the slices before rolling. You may also need 2 sticks to keep the pork rolls stable and not too floppy. Heat oil in a saute pan. When hot, pan-fry skewers until done, about 1-2 minutes per side.

Serve pork skewers with ginger-guava jam and five-grain rice. You may add some diced cucumbers if you wish. You can also include a handful of lettuce leaves and wrap the pork-rice-jam combination and eat it that way.

But wait!
There's more...


This complete meal:
Ginger-Guava Jam
Lime-Marinated Pork Skewers with Ginger-Guava Jam and Five-Grain Rice
Soy Pudding Parfait with Orange-Ginger Syrup and "Streusel Brittle"

This is our entry to the Royal Food Joust (created by The Leftover Queen).

[eatingclub] vancouver Royal Food Joust posts:
Dimsum Seafood Trio: Black Pearl Toast, Scallop in Nest, Jewelled Rice Cup
Cream of Fennel Soup with Parsey Oil
Ginger-Guava Jam
Lime-Marinated Pork Skewers with Ginger-Guava Jam and Five-Grain Rice
Soy Pudding Parfait with Orange-Ginger Syrup and "Streusel" Brittle
Squash Churros with Orange-Sage Hot Chocolate
Coffee Pancakes with Honey Ricotta and Black Pepper & Coffee-Crusted Bacon
Caribbean "Fish & (Banana) Chips"
Steelhead Trout and Enoki Mushrooms with Wasabi Cream Sauce

We're submitting this to Culinarty's Original Recipes.

More information here.
The Round-ups here.


  1. Beautiful dish, love the presentation!

  2. Good luck in the joust. It is evident just how much energy you put into your entries. So impressive.

    The photos are fabulous too.

  3. This is simply incredible! I love everything about it - the pork itself, the double skewering, the guava sauce, and the multi/whole-grain rice. Wow!

  4. your fabulous pictures never fail to send my saliva glands into overdrive. :)

  5. WOW! That looks smashing! Best of luck you ladies! :)

  6. Thanks! Wish us luck! Or, vote for us. Haha. =D

  7. Oh my god you're making me way too hungry for this late at night...

  8. Wow, I hope you ladies win. This is fabulous. I cooked a different brand of 5-grain rice, the black rice turned the rice a dirty, dishwasher colour.

  9. Another amazing entry this month - love it!

  10. Love the two skewers! Though not guava fan, but it absolutely makes me give it second thought - ginger and guava. Nice combination.

  11. I love the presentation, too. I can't wait to try the jam - guava and ginger, sounds interesting combination. And we have a lot of guavas these days.

  12. Oh my gosh, the pork skewers looks so so good. If I ate pork, that's the first thing I'd want to try.

  13. woah, what a unique and delicious creation!! Your photos are getting better and better ... I'm almost reaching for the monitor to lick it, haa... good luck for the contest! ^_^


  14. lori lynn:
    Thanks! We won't win... but the fun was in the conceptualization. =)

    Tom Aarons \ cecil:
    Thanks! The double skwering was necessary: the pork was all floppy! Teehee.

    Oh, I didn't even know that there was a possibility of ugly rice with this 5-grain business!

    I think this would still be good with any meat. =)

    noobcook said...
    Thanks! We're getting afraid, though, coz pretty soon there won't be (sun)light early on (like, from 3pm onwards)... I don't know how we'll take pictures then! ack.


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