Wow – oh wow – oh wow! You know how you sometimes go into something, not sure quite how it will turn out, but hoping for the best? Most of the time, it turns out okay; occasionally it is a complete disaster; sometimes you are pleasantly surprised. And then there is that one-in-a-thousand wow-this-is-incredible time. That’s what happened when I made this.
There is no specific inspiration for this dish. I have made Asian-pork-many-different-things before. We REALLY like Asian food in this house, and we were in a bit of a rut – needed something different. Enter the Asian-something-pork-wrap-or taco-thingy. I had a recipe I put together a couple of years ago (and miraculously had the fortitude to write it up). I figured that I would use that as inspiration.
Keys in hand, I had a loose plan for pork tacos with plum sauce. Plum sauce is often served with Moo Shu pork in Chinese restaurants, and it is DELICIOUS. Thus, the idea to put them on Chinese pork tacos. Then I heard, “I’ll come with you.” Enter the carb-averse, sugar-averse caveman husband. Now, normally, I don’t mind this so much. In fact, I usually really like it. This time, I kinda paused, in that “Oh, crap”” way.
You see, I plum sauce is really sweet; so I needed plum preserves to make this sauce. The thing is, plum preserves are, well, preserves, meaning here is a lot of sugar in them. Now, my plan was to buy some of these sugary preserves and use a smaller, controlled amount in the sauce I was making. Without necessarily divulging that to my husband. So, part way into the trip, I found the preserves, put them in the cart. While my husband was on his phone. In another aisle of the store. And then he came back. The preserves went back onto the shelf.
And I was left with no plan.
Asian flavors are pretty basic, and I was already using these as the base for my pork. But the plum sauce (from the sugary plum preserves) was going to be that something different that I was craving. What to do? What to do? We went back to the produce aisle. No plums there. (Of course not. It was January.) Then back to the Asian food aisle. There I found Ume Plum Vinegar. No sugars. Hey, it had plums in it. Repeat – no sugars. I figured I could work with this to make some sort of plum sauce. Right?
Wrong. Just before I was ready to serve dinner, I brought out the Plum Vinegar and tasted it. WHOA! It was salty and pungent and bitter, the exact opposite of what I was looking for.
Panic! I started to rifle through the refrigerator. And the pantry. And became more and more distraught. I generally make a point of trying to buy only the things we need during any given week. But in the very back corner of the pantry, I found a glimmer of hope. Sweet chili sauce. I opened it up. Tasted it. It was a very nice combination of sweet and heat. Then I looked at the nutritional and ingredient labels. The hubby would not approve. I put the sauce in a bowl and told my husband to use only a small amount, and only if he wanted to. (I still had the guilt of the shopping trip hanging over my head.) And a very small amount was all that was needed on each taco, maybe 1/2 tsp per taco. But that small amount made a very big difference. Again, wow – oh wow – oh wow!
So, here you go. I give you Chinese Five Spice Pork Tacos. Stacked up with crunchy veggie goodness, topped with a drizzle of the sweet, spicy, tangy sauce found in my pantry. Unexpectedly and outrageously outstanding!
Note: To make this gluten-free, use brown rice or corn tortillas. To make it low carb, use low carb tortillas or use a lettuce leaf to make a wrap.
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup + 2 TBSP rice wine vinegar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¾ teaspoon chili garlic sauce (the hot stuff) or Sriracha
- Six garlic cloves, minced
- 2- in piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 2 lb pork roast (I used 2 1-pound pork tenderloins)
- 1 tablespoon Chinese five spice
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- ½ lb prepared coleslaw (cabbage) mix
- Lettuce leaves
- 10 Flour or brown rice tortillas
- Thai sweet chili sauce
- ¼ - ⅓ bunch cilantro, chopped
- Mix Chinese five spice, 1tsp salt, and garlic powder in a bowl. Coat pork tenderloins with it. Place pork in the crockpot. Add ingredients, soy sauce through ginger. Cook for 2-3 hours on Hi or 5-6 hours on low. (If using 1lb tenderloins, cook on low for three hours)
- Remove pork and shred with 2 forks. Put pork back into the crockpot, stirring it into the sauce. With lid off, cook an additional 15-20 min on Hi to thicken the sauce.
- While the pork is finishing up, combine coleslaw, 2 TBSP rice wine vinegar, and 1 tsp salt in a bowl. Mix.
- Scoop pork onto tortilla or lettuce leaves. Top with coleslaw mix, lettuce (if using tortillas). Drizzle about ½ tsp Thai Sweet chili sauce on top. Sprinkle with some chopped cilantro. Wrap and enjoy!
Combine 1 TBSP garlic powder, 1 TBSP Chinese Five Spice, and 1 tsp salt in a bowl.
Rub spice mix into 2 pork tenderloins (or whatever pork roast you choose).
Place these ingredients into a crockpot:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon HOT chili garlic sauce or Sriracha
Six garlic cloves, minced
2- in piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
Add pork. Cook 2-3 hours on Hi or 5-6 hours on low. If you choose a larger pork roast, you may need to add 1-2 hours to the high cook time or 2-3 hours to the high cook time.
Remove pork from crockpot
And shred with 2 forks. Stir the pork back in the crockpot juices. Cook on Hi, with the lid off, for 15-20 minutes to let the juice reduce. If using pork tenderloin, the meat might look a bit dry. DON’T WORRY! It will absorb the juice in the crockpot during this step.
While the pork is finishing up, combine cabbage mix, 2 TBSP rice wine vinegar, and 1 tsp salt in a bowl. Mix.
Scoop pork onto tortilla. (Use brown rice tortillas for a gluten-free version). Top with coleslaw mix and lettuce. Drizzle about 1/2 tsp Thai Sweet chili sauce on top. Sprinkle on some chopped cilantro.
For a low-carb, gluten-free version, stack everything in a big piece of butter lettuce.
Wrap and enjoy!