This past Tuesday, Houston saw the heaviest rainstorm flood it’s ever seen in 30+ years. I’ve never in my life seen houses submerged under 4 feet of water and people whipping out their rafts and traveling about their neighborhood Venice-style, except on TV. Well…I didn’t exactly see that live either this week (thankfully) as I was trapped in the hospital on call duty Tuesday night. But just about every TV in the hospital was broadcasting the jaw-dropping images of parts of Houston literally wiped out, and the Galleria with its flooded garage. Multiple physicians were trapped in their houses and stories of leaking roofs and totaled cars spread everywhere around me.
Luckily, my apartment complex remained relatively dry, aside from a part of the road to work that had a foot and a half of water and the light rail being suspended. I still managed to get to the hospital on time, on foot. Nothing can stop an enthusiastic medical student from learning. Not even a debilitating storm!
Note to self: I should probably start brainstorming about storing up canned foods and strategies to not starve when the next flood hits. And finding a hill to park my car.
On a more positive side effect, because of the storm, we’ve seen many less patients in the hospital these few days since no one can make it out here. For the first time, the waiting room outside the ER was eerily quiet, with no screaming children who are usually sprawled out over the benches. Less patients, less work for me. Even though I have a gnawing feeling that our work will double by the weekend. But at least for the time being, quiet is good with me.
So last weekend, I made a Cantonese dish called GuLaoRou, or sweet and sour pineapple pork. You might have had the Americanized version- sweet and sour pork- in your last Chinese takeout for dinner. But this dish is the real deal, straight from the Motherland- Canton, China. No more of that artificially engineered sticky heavy sweetness, this dish takes advantage of the naturally sweet and tangy pineapple to flavor its meat. I present to you the healthier authentic version: GuLaoRou.
Sweet and Sour Pineapple Pork
- 1.5 cups of pineapple chunks
- 3 large pieces of pork chops, cut into small chunks
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper
- 1 roma tomato, diced
- 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp Chinese black vinegar
- 1.5 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp corn starch
Marinate the pork chunks with 1/2 Tbsp corn starch, pinch of salt, 1/2 Tbsp olive oil. Marinate for 20 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Beat 1 large egg, and mix the pork into the egg. Cover pork with remaining corn starch. (Might require more corn starch)
Heat up 1/2 Tbsp canola oil on a skillet over high heat for 2 minutes until oil is hot. Add the pork chunks to the skillet and sear all sides until the surface is golden-brown. This can take 5-7 minutes. Transfer the pork into a separate container.
With the remaining oil in the skillet, sautee tomato and bell peppers for 3 minutes. Then add in the pineapple chunks along with the pork.
Meanwhile, prepare the sweet and sour sauce by mixing 1/2 cup water, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 Tbsp Chinese vinegar, 1.5 Tbsp soy sauce and 1 Tbsp of corn starch in a bowl. Mix well. Pour the sauce over contents in the skillet, and stir-fry to coat contents in the sauce evenly. Sitr-fry for another 2 minutes and turn off the heat.