37 Cooks: Salt and Pepper Pork

Salt and pepper pork chops Chinese recipe

Crispy Cantonese Salt and Pepper Pork Chops by thewoksoflife.comChinese Salt and Pepper Pork Chops are the best! I remember this dish from when I was a chubby kid growing up in the small resort town of Liberty, NY. Every month, my family would make the two hour Saturday morning pilgrimage in our white Chevrolet station wagon to Manhattan’s Chinatown. Kind of reminiscent of Little House on the Prairie…heading into town on a wagon to buy coffee and a sack of flour from Mr. Whipple at the General Store. Only with more Chinese people.

We’d first have dim sum, and then pay a visit to my grandparents’ tiny apartment, where we would all converge with our aunts, uncles and crazy younger cousins. Sunday morning would be a mad rush to the butcher, Chinese bakery, and fresh vegetable stands. We’d then head to a tiny mom and pop general store for miscellaneous sundries, where everything was packed wall to wall–cartons and boxes stacked in the narrow aisles, and a good amount of merchandise hanging from the ceiling above our heads.

Crispy Cantonese Salt and Pepper Pork Chops by thewoksoflife.comWith the next month’s provisions purchased, it was off to Sunday dinner with extended family before the long ride back to Liberty. At that dinner, we would inevitably have this dish.

We still love Salt and Pepper Pork Chops, and we order it whenever we go to a good Cantonese restaurant (like the one mentioned in our Stir-Fried Shrimp and Eggs post). This Salt and Pepper Pork Chop version is probably the most common of several variations. Personally, we like the Cantonese version the best. It’s all about expectations my friends–kinda like you’re expecting a Big Mac, but in a drunken stupor, you end up walking into a Burger King and getting a Whopper. It’s good, but it’s just not what you were expecting, and certainly not the same.

Crispy Cantonese Salt and Pepper Pork Chops by thewoksoflife.comGenerally, restaurants serve the pork chops with the bone in, but they have the butcher cut them very thin. At home, we suggest you use thin cutlets of boneless pork, to make things easier. We also suggest a fattier cut of pork like the shoulder. This dish is nothing without a bit of fat.

So here we go with the recipe. You’ll need:

For the pork and marinade:

  • 1 pound of pork shoulder/butt, sliced about 1/3 inch thick into pieces about 4 to 5 inches across
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the coating:

  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons oil
  • 3 tablespoons water

And everything else:

Crispy Cantonese Salt and Pepper Pork Chops by thewoksoflife.comCombine the pork and marinade ingredients in a large bowl and use your hands to mix and coat the pork evenly. Let sit at least 15 minutes.

Move the pork to one side of the bowl, add the ingredients for the coating, and mix until you get a loose batter. Next, combine the pork and the batter until everything is well-coated, and set aside.

Heat the oil in a small sauce pot to about 250 degrees, or until you put in a piece of garlic and it bubbles a little. Toss in the garlic and cook until it just starts to turn color (30 seconds). Scoop it out onto a paper towel to drain. Be careful not to brown the garlic, or it will be bitter.

Heat the oil to 380 degrees, fry the pork in batches until golden brown, and place on a paper towel to drain. Once all pieces are done, heat your wok over very high heat until smoking. Add the green and red peppers, salt, and white pepper to the wok and toss for about 15-30 seconds until fragrant. Turn off the heat, and add the pork chops and the fried garlic.

Enjoy this Salt and Pepper Pork Chops Recipe!


  • 1 pound of pork shoulder/butt, sliced about ⅓ inch thick into pieces about 4 to 5 inches across
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Shaoxing wine
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Pinch of 5 spice powder (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1½ tablespoons oil
  • 3 cups peanut oil for frying
  • 3 cloves thinly sliced garlic
  • 3 long hot green peppers, sliced crosswise into thin rounds
  • 1 long hot red pepper, sliced crosswise into thin rounds
  • ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon coarsely ground white pepper
Crispy Cantonese Salt and Pepper Pork Chops by thewoksoflife.com Crispy Cantonese Salt and Pepper Pork Chops by thewoksoflife.com

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