Salt and Pepper Pork Chops (椒鹽豬扒)

Learn how to make this crunchy, fried, and delectable Cantonese favorite at home!

flodesk gif
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
Yields
4 servings

A Recipe by Daddy Lau

My dad's been cooking Chinese food for over 50 years - as a kid fending for himself in Guangzhou, as the head chef of his own restaurant, and as a loving father in our home.

Hopefully, by learning this recipe, you'll get to experience some of the delicious joy we felt growing up eating his food!

- Randy

Salt and Pepper Pork Chops or 椒鹽豬扒 is a well-known dish that accompanies Chinese restaurants' casual dinners. It's the dish that families order for takeout when they have family gatherings at home and is the real MVP of protein dishes to go.

Salt and pepper pork chops are just one of the wildly popular salt and pepper style dishes in Cantonese cuisine. There are countless other proteins you can cook in this style, such as squid, fish, chicken, and tofu, to name a few.

Browse through a couple of recipes online and you’ll see that the seasonings can also vary based on your particular preference, with some recipes featuring five spice and Sichuan peppercorns while others include black pepper and jalapeños.

Despite all the variety, these dishes all share in the wonderful combination of spicy, salty flavor and crispy yet tender texture of each bite.

But what's the secret to the perfect bite of Salt and Pepper Pork Chops? The trick for that crispy crust and keeping the meat juicy and tender is the combination of tenderizing, marinating, and double frying.

We cover all these techniques with this easy recipe so you can achieve these restaurant-quality Salt and Pepper Pork Chops right at home!

Check out a quick story summary of our recipe!

Ingredients

Weight: US
oz
g
Volume: US
cup
mL
Servings
4

Main Ingredients

  • 1 lb pork loin sirloin chop
  • 0.20 red pepper
  • 0.20 green pepper
  • 1 scallion
  • 0.50 red chili pepper
  • 2 clove garlic

Sauce

  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 0.50 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsbp cooking wine
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp water (

    adjustable - may need to add more if necessary.

    )
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 0.50 tsp salt

Other Ingredients

  • 2 cup corn oil (

    can substitute with a high smoke point oil - more on this later

    )
  • 0.50 egg
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 0.50 tbsp oil

Seasoning

  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 0.25 tsp salt
  • 0.25 tsp white pepper

Should pork chops make it to the chopping block?

My parents get asked a lot about what specific cuts are best for this dish. they usually answer that pork chops are fine.

Different parts of the pig have different kinds of pork chop. We prefer to use Pork Loin Sirloin Chop. In Chinese, it's called 里脊肉伴腰肉塊. This piece is the part of the pig's back that is close to the back legs.

My mom explains that you could cook pork chops with or without bones. But for family cooking, getting a pork chop without bones is easier, because cutting thinly is hard to do with a bone.

Oil, Yeah!

The reason we’re using corn oil here instead of something like olive oil is because olive oil has what is called a lower smoke point which is the temperature at which the oil stops shimmering or rippling and starts smoking or burning.

Smoking oil isn't always a problem and is sometimes even desired for getting that perfect “Wok Hei” in your stir fry but it's a sign that the oil is breaking down which can release burnt or bitter flavors or even harmful free radicals.

There are a few other factors that go into selecting oils like whether they're neutral or flavored or refined or unrefined. Most cooking oil is created by extracting and compressing seeds and nuts and oils that are “unrefined”, “raw”, or “virgin” are usually bottled almost immediately. They generally have more nutrients but a lower smoke point and shorter shelf life.

Refined oils go through more processing for a higher smoke point, longer shelf life, and a more neutral flavor. For simplicity's sake, for frying, you generally want to use neutral, refined oils, like vegetable oil, refined olive oil, or corn oil.

On White Pepper

If you've never heard of white pepper, it's a spice that's ground up from white peppercorns.

Fun fact: black and white pepper actually both come from a fruit. The same fruit, to be exact. White peppercorns, black peppercorns, green peppercorns, red peppercorns. These are all the same berry from the same pepper plant, piper nigrum.

The main difference is when and how they’re harvested and processed.

Black peppercorns are dried as soon as they’re picked and their skin becomes black and shriveled.

White peppercorns are soaked for at least a week which allows the outer skin to decompose. This leaves just the seed to be dried with its distinctive heat and concentrated spiciness.

As you’ll see in my dad’s recipe, even just a 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper in the seasoning is enough for a flavorful and spicy kick of heat.

Start with chopping up the vegetables. Cut red pepper (0.20 ) into strips then rotate 90 degrees to dice. Dice the green pepper (0.20 ) the same way.

Roughly dice the scallion (1 ) into medium-sized pieces. Then peel, smash, and mince the garlic (2 clove).

Cut across the red chili (0.50 ) pepper into thin slices the shape will look like coins. If you want to make it spicier, you can use more of it.

Cut pork chops (1 lb) into palm-sized pieces and half them horizontally to have thing slices. Make sure to cut against the grain to keep the meat intact during the cooking process. To tenderize them, use the back of the knife to pound into the pork chops on both sides.

For the pork marinade, mix cornstarch (2 tbsp), baking soda (0.50 tsp), cooking wine (1 tsbp), oyster sauce (1 tbsp), light soy sauce (1 tbsp), and water (1 tbsp). Give it a quick mix then add sugar (1 tsp) and salt (0.50 tsp).

Mix the pork in with the marinade by hand for about one minute.

Let the pork marinate for 30-60 minutes.

In a pot over medium heat, add corn oil (2 cup) and bring it to 380°F/193.3°C.

While waiting for the oil to heat up, beat an egg in a small bowl and pour the egg (0.50 ) into the marinated pork. Mix well. The egg will soak up the cornstarch, and make the overall pork crispier when fried.

Put the cornstarch (3 tbsp) onto a large plate. Once the oil has come to temperature, coat pieces of pork with cornstarch.

To fry the pork chops, put them in one at a time into the oil and fry them in batches to not overcrowd the pot.

Fry until the pork chops' crust is a light golden brown, or about a minute and a half. Take out the pork pieces and let the oil drain from the pieces back into the pot with a strainer.

Turn the heat up to 450°F/232.2°C and fry a second time for about 30 seconds. This results in an extra crispy texture.

On the first fry, the moisture is at the surface. On the second fry, the juices on the surface have dried. So the meat will fry up to be fragrant and crispy.

In order to keep track of what pieces are on the first fry versus on their second fry, look at the color of the coating. If it's on the lighter side, it's on the first fry. If it's golden brown, it has completed its second fry.

After frying, set the oil aside for the stir-frying step.

In a small bowl, mix together garlic salt (1 tsp), salt (0.25 tsp), and white pepper (0.25 tsp).

Now, we'll put the dish together! Start by heating up a wok on medium heat.

When the wok is hot, we'll add about a tsp of the oil we just used. Add in the garlic, red chili pepper, and stir-fry until it starts to be aromatic.

Add the bell peppers and stir-fry everything for about 30 seconds on high.

Add the scallions followed by all of the pork.

After tossing the pork in with the aromatics for about 30 seconds, add the seasoning. Make sure to put it in gradually to evenly coat all the pork chop pieces.

After adding in the seasoning, cook for another 15-20 seconds before turning off the heat.

Continue to mix for another 20-30 seconds until the seasoning is evenly coating the pork, then you can plate it.

Finally, taste to adjust the flavors of the pork chops to your liking! This is usually served on a large serving plate at the center of the table. Everyone can take the amount they want in smaller individual plates.

Summary

Salt and Pepper Pork Chops (椒鹽豬扒)
Learn how to make this crunchy, fried, and delectable Cantonese favorite at home!
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 50 min
  • Yield: 4 servings

Main Ingredients

  • 1 lb pork loin sirloin chop
  • 0.20 red pepper
  • 0.20 green pepper
  • 1 scallion
  • 0.50 red chili pepper
  • 2 clove garlic

Sauce

  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 0.50 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsbp cooking wine
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp water (

    adjustable - may need to add more if necessary.

    )
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 0.50 tsp salt

Other Ingredients

  • 2 cup corn oil (

    can substitute with a high smoke point oil - more on this later

    )
  • 0.50 egg
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 0.50 tbsp oil

Seasoning

  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 0.25 tsp salt
  • 0.25 tsp white pepper

Step 1 - Prepare ingredients

↑ Jump to details

Start with chopping up the vegetables. Cut red pepper (0.20 ) into strips then rotate 90 degrees to dice. Dice the green pepper (0.20 ) the same way.

Roughly dice the scallion (1 ) into medium-sized pieces. Then peel, smash, and mince the garlic (2 clove).

Cut across the red chili (0.50 ) pepper into thin slices the shape will look like coins. If you want to make it spicier, you can use more of it.

Cut pork chops (1 lb) into palm-sized pieces and half them horizontally to have thing slices. Make sure to cut against the grain to keep the meat intact during the cooking process. To tenderize them, use the back of the knife to pound into the pork chops on both sides.

Step 2 - Mix sauce

↑ Jump to details

For the pork marinade, mix cornstarch (2 tbsp), baking soda (0.50 tsp), cooking wine (1 tsbp), oyster sauce (1 tbsp), light soy sauce (1 tbsp), and water (1 tbsp). Give it a quick mix then add sugar (1 tsp) and salt (0.50 tsp).

Step 3 - Marinate pork chops

↑ Jump to details

Mix the pork in with the marinade by hand for about one minute.

Let the pork marinate for 30-60 minutes.

Step 4 - Prepare for frying

↑ Jump to details

In a pot over medium heat, add corn oil (2 cup) and bring it to 380°F/193.3°C.

While waiting for the oil to heat up, beat an egg in a small bowl and pour the egg (0.50 ) into the marinated pork. Mix well. The egg will soak up the cornstarch, and make the overall pork crispier when fried.

Put the cornstarch (3 tbsp) onto a large plate. Once the oil has come to temperature, coat pieces of pork with cornstarch.

Step 5 - Fry the pork

↑ Jump to details

To fry the pork chops, put them in one at a time into the oil and fry them in batches to not overcrowd the pot.

Fry until the pork chops' crust is a light golden brown, or about a minute and a half. Take out the pork pieces and let the oil drain from the pieces back into the pot with a strainer.

Turn the heat up to 450°F/232.2°C and fry a second time for about 30 seconds.

After frying, set the oil aside for the stir-frying step.

Step 6 - Mix seasoning

↑ Jump to details

In a small bowl, mix together garlic salt (1 tsp), salt (0.25 tsp), and white pepper (0.25 tsp).

Step 7 - Cook all ingredients

↑ Jump to details

Now, we'll put the dish together! Start by heating up a wok on medium heat.

When the wok is hot, we'll add about a tsp of the oil we just used. Add in the garlic, red chili pepper, and stir-fry until it starts to be aromatic.

Add the bell peppers and stir-fry everything for about 30 seconds on high.

Add the scallions followed by all of the pork.

After tossing the pork in with the aromatics for about 30 seconds, add the seasoning. Make sure to put it in gradually to evenly coat all the pork chop pieces.

After adding in the seasoning, cook for another 15-20 seconds before turning off the heat.

Continue to mix for another 20-30 seconds until the seasoning is evenly coating the pork, then you can plate it.

Step 8 - Taste test & plate

↑ Jump to details

Finally, taste to adjust the flavors of the pork chops to your liking! This is usually served on a large serving plate at the center of the table. Everyone can take the amount they want in smaller individual plates.

Step 9 - Take pictures
Whip out your camera (1). Begin taking photos (1,000,000). Pick your favorites!
Step 10 - Share and tag us on Instagram @madewithlau #madewithlau!
Did you have fun making this recipe? We'd love to see & hear about it. (Especially my dad. He would be THRILLED!)

Enjoy!

We have many, many happy memories of enjoying this dish growing up.

Now, hopefully, you can create your own memories with this dish with your loved ones.

Also, I cordially invite you to eat with us and learn more about the dish, Chinese culture, and my family.

Cheers, and thanks for cooking with us!

Feel free to comment below if you have any questions about the recipe.