This is a version of the classic Australian take on Chinese sweet and sour pork, a dish often thought of as daggy, but one that, when done well, has a beautiful balance of salt, vinegar and subtle sweetness. This recipe also carries heat from the chilli and sichuan pepper, both of which combine well with this particular cut of goat.
- 100 g potato starch
- 50 g plain flour
- 160 g sparkling water
- 400 g goat neck, cut into strips approx 2 cm x 8 cm
- 2 Lebanese cucumbers
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 120 ml water
- 100 g raw caster sugar
- 2 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns, toasted and roughly pounded in a mortar and pestle
- 1 long red chilli, sliced on a slight angle into thin rounds
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- 3 tsp light soy
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- canola oil for shallow frying
- splash of olive oil
- squeeze of lemon
- river salt
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 30 minutes
Serves 4 as a starter or 6 as part of a banquet-style meal.
In a large mixing bowl combine the potato starch and flour. Whisk in the sparkling water until you have a smooth batter. Add in the goat meat and give it all a mix. Set aside.
Peel your cucumbers a little leaving some of the skin on, as it gives a nice bit of extra colour and flavour. Split them in half down the middle and then scrape out the seeds. Cut them on a long angle into pieces about 1 cm x 6 cm. Place the cucumber into a bowl with the garlic and a good pinch of salt. Make sure they get a nice stir to coat. Set aside.
In a large shallow fry pan, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil. Once the syrup is boiling add in the peppercorns and chilli, turn the heat to low and give the flavours a moment or two to mingle. Add in the vinegar, soy and fish sauce and bring to the boil again before setting the pan aside. Have a taste as you may want to adjust the seasoning a little.
Fill a large pot with oil up to about 7 cm, place over a medium heat and bring it up 180°C.
Check on your cucumber; it should have released a little water. Tip this out and drizzle in a little oil and a squeeze of lemon. Set aside.
By this stage your oil should be hot and ready for frying. It’s probably best to do this in two batches. Gently lower handfuls of the goat pieces coated with batter into the oil. Fry for about 2 minutes or until they begin to look crispy. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a wire rack to drain. Repeat with the remaining meat, making sure you give the oil a moment or so to get hot again between batches.
Once all the goat is ready, get your sauce back onto a high heat and let it come to a rolling boil. At this stage it should be starting to look a little thick. Add in all the goat and cook, stirring constantly, for a minute or two so all the meat becomes nicely coated in the sauce.
Serve out the goat and all the saucy bits onto a large platter. Top with the cucumber and any juicy bits that are in the bowl. Eat immediately.
Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Peta Gray. Creative concept by Lou Fay.
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