Chinese Pork Koftas (grilled meatballs)

Chinese Pork Koftas

Chinese Pork Koftas

I’m always looking for new ways to tempt Miss 3 to eat her protein.  She took great delight in helping me make these and enjoyed eating them too. I’ve made simmered soft meatballs in passata, grilled meatballs, and these pork koftas are a bit of a twist on something that would commonly use Middle Eastern spices. The great thing about these is that you can easily experiment with different spices and vegetables that you have to hand!


  • 500g pork mince
  • 2 Tbsp quinoa powder / rice flour / plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • generous pinch salt
  • 2 -3 tsp chopped Chinese chives
  • handful green runner beans (finely chopped)
  • 1 – 2 tsp Chinese five spice
  • Optional: vegetables to skewer.
    • I used Swiss Brown Mushrooms that I’d picked up cheaply at a farmer’s market but you could use eggplant cubes, juicy capsicum, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, peeled garlic etc.
  • Optional: sesame seeds to garnish
  • Neutral oil (I use rice bran oil)

Allergies: gluten free*, dairy free, soy free, egg free, nut free.


  1. Soak the bamboo skewers in water while preparing the mince. (A wide shallow bowl or the kitchen sink will both work). Soaking up the water helps keep the skewers from burning in the oven.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200’C these would also work well on the BBQ.
  3. Mix all the ingredients together.
  4. Form little meatballs. You can either push the skewer through these or wrap them around the skewer.
  5. Alternate meatballs and vegetables.
  6. Baste with oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes (turning halfway through) or until the pork is cooked through.
  8. Serve with a spiced plum dipping sauce and steamed rice.

Tip: Kids will love helping make these. If you don’t want your toddler having their hands in raw meat (I didn’t!), put them in charge of handing you the skewers and sprinkling the sesame seeds.

Chinese Pork Koftas with spiced plum sauce and steamed coconut rice

Chinese Pork Koftas with spiced plum sauce and steamed coconut rice

How to make Spicy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Spicy Pulled Pork

Spicy Pulled Pork – allergy free and easy to make!

Pulled pork is wonderful in everything from sliders, to hot dog buns, to freshly made bread. There are many versions of pulled pork, this is a spicy one that’s delicious with apple sauce and mayonnaise.

You can make pulled pork using many cuts of pork. If you have a rolled pork loin roast you can use the flat section to make Crispy Asian Pork Belly and trim the fat away from the loin to make lean pulled pork; you can use an entire pork shoulder roast (bone in, skin on) – the only real limitation is the size of your slow cooker!


  • 1 pork shoulder (approx. 2kg / 4-5 pounds)
  • 1-2 brown onions (diced)
  • 4 garlic cloves (sliced)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Dry Rub
    • 1/4c brown sugar
    • 1 tsp chilli powder
    • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
    • 1T paprika
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp ground pepper
    • 1/2 tsp cumin
    • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
    • pinch thyme
  • 170g tomato paste (or 2 cups BBQ sauce)

Allergies: gluten free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, nut free.


  1. In the slowcooker, create a layer of onions and garlic. Gently pour in the chicken broth.
  2. Combine the dry rub ingredients. Pat the pork dry with paper towels and then rub the spice mixture all over it.
  3. Place the pork on top of the bed of onions. Slow cook for 6 – 8 hours on High or 8 – 10 hours on Low (until the pork is tender).
  4. Time to shred the pork!
    • If you are using lean pork, you will be able to pull it apart and shred it (using two forks) inside the slow cooker. You may want to mix in 1T of butter (or 1-2 Tablespoons of a neutral oil like Rice Bran Oil). You can either remove some of the excess broth or turn the slow cooker to High (lid off) to help the broth reduce down.
    • If you are using a bone-in roast, remove pork to a chopping board. Remove and discard the bone and any large chunks of fat. Shred the pork using two forks. Strain the liquid from the slow cooker into a bowl. Place the onion, garlic, and pork back into the slow cooker. Use a spoon to skim and remove the fat off the strained liquid; slowly add the strained broth back into the pork until is just moistened.
  5. Mix in the tomato paste (or BBQ sauce). Taste and season with salt as desired.


I like to serve my spicy pulled pork on thick slices of freshly made Ancient Grains bread with apple sauce, grated cheese, and Butterhead lettuce. If you’re looking for inspiration on different ways to use your pulled pork – check out these 20 Delicious Dinners!


Pork Rice Rolls

Getting ready to make summer pork rice rolls

I haven’t made rice rolls in ages and had forgotten how easy they are (if a little time consuming wetting each rice paper wrap). I was excited recently to find a peanut satay sauce that was dairy, soy, and gluten free. It’s concentrated and just needs coconut milk mixed in (a very distinct shrimp & anchovy taste but the coconut milk makes it milder). I decided to use leftover roast pork, summer salad greens from the garden, celery, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes, and the rice wraps with the satay dipping sauce.

Pork rice wrap

Allergies: soy free, dairy free, gluten free, egg free, tree nut free.

I loved it. Miss 2 decided that it looked new and chewy and wouldn’t try it. In her world acceptable textures are generally crunchy or soft & fluffy. She decided she’d rather eat all the peas, lots of fresh sorrel, a tomato, and a large puffed rice cake with Marmite (her current gluten free favourite alternative to toast). Ah well!

Crispy Pork Belly

Crispy Pork Belly

Leftovers! Crispy Asian Pork Belly


Liquid marinade

  • 3/4c Chinese cooking rice wine
  • 1T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 1/2T coconut amino acids
  • 1T lemon juice (or 1 lime)
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves (sliced)
  • 1 sliced red chilli
  • 1 tsp Chinese Five Spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 250 ml water

Everything else

  • 1-2 brown onions (cut into wedges)
  • Pork Belly
  • Neutral Oil (i.e. Rice Bran Oil)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Water (added at intervals during cooking)

Allergies: gluten free, soy free, dairy free, egg free, nut free


  1. Preheat the oven to 220’C.
  2. In a big roasting pan, mix up the liquid marinade.
  3. Cut the onion(s) into wedges and place in a line in the pan. There needs to be enough onion to cut as a support for the pork belly. It will help to moisten the meat and also act as a structural support to keep the crackling raised up out of the jus.
  4. Prepare the pork belly. You will need a very sharp knife in order to score it; I like doing a diamond pattern. This is important not only for helping it to cook but also for cutting it up later in order to serve! Dry the pork belly, apply a little oil over the top, then rub in salt. Crack some pepper over the top as well (if desired).
  5. Place the pork belly onto the foundation of onions (with the fat on top).
  6. Cook at 220’c for 30-40 minutes or until the rind has crackled.
  7. Add 1/2c water to the liquid in the bottom of the pan. Reduce oven heat to 160’C and cook for another hour.
  8. Add 1/2c water to the liquid in the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking at 160’C for approximately another 60 minutes or until the pork is very tender.
  9. Reserve some of the juices to drizzle over the pork when serving. Consider serving with green vegetables and steamed rice. (I chopped up bok choy and other greens, lightly braised them in the marinade, and stir fried before serving as a side dish with the onion, chilli, garlic etc.).

Mu Shu Pork – Chow Mein – Chop Suey all from one basic recipe!

Mu Shu Pork.jpg

Mu Shu Pork

I came across this recipe by Cybele Pascal  in a chapter of her allergy friendly cookbook about making takeaways at home. I haven’t heard of Mu Shu Pork before but apparently it’s a popular takeaway in the United States and based on a stir-fry dish made in northern China and eaten rolled in small pancakes rather than over rice. This recipe has a few adjustments (such as not including soy sauce or egg) in order to make it free of the top 8 allergies. The recipe is also very similar to how we make Chow Mein in New Zealand, it’s all about what you serve it with!

Mu Shu Pork: Serve with Chinese pancakes (delicious scallion pancakes can be picked up from the freezer section of most Asian supermarkets) OR use rice paper wraps OR use gluten free wraps or corn tortillas. *Food allergies mean getting a little inventive! I’ve used both rice paper (like making summer rolls) and gluten free wraps; both are delicious.

Chop Suey: Serve over rice. Consider garnishing with crunchy crispy Chinese noodles (from the snack section of the supermarket).

Chow Mein: Serve with noodles. You can cook with glass noodles (mungbean or rice vermicelli) or with thick egg noodles. Consider garnishing with crunchy crispy Chinese noodles (from the snack section of the supermarket).


Stir Fry Sauce

  • 1/2 chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2T coconut amino acids (or soy sauce)
  • 2T neutral oil (i.e, rice bran oil)
  • 1T rice vinegar
  • 1T cornstarch, or tapioca starch, or superfine white rice flour
  • 1 tsp honey

Stir Fry

  • 1T neutral oil (i.e, rice bran oil)
  • 400-500g pork mince (ground pork)
  • 1c red onion, finely diced
  • 2T minced or grated ginger (or 2tsp ground ginger)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1c thinly chopped shiitake mushrooms
    • Can also use wood-ear mushroom or substitute in a local mushroom. Note: you can often buy dried shiitake mushrooms more cheaply than fresh; they’ll need 30 mins or so to soak in water before using.
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3c shredded cabbage
  • 100g snow peas, sliced into thin vertical slivers
    • I subbed green runner beans.
  • 1c grated carrot
  • 1-2 green onions (spring onion), white and green parts, chopped.

Plum sauce (optional dipping sauce)

  • 1c plum jam
  • 1/2tsp garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tsp ginger, minced or grated
  • 2T cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1T Sriracha or other chile-garlic sauce

Allergies: gluten free, soy free, dairy free, egg free, nut free.

Directions – Mu Shu Pork

  1. Mix up the stir fry sauce.
    • Tip: Put into a jar or small sealed container; put on the lid and shake until the honey and tapioca starch have dissolved.
  2. Heat the oil over high heat in a non-stick wok or frying pan.
  3. Add the pork, onion, and ginger. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes until the pork is no longer pink and the onion is tender. Break up the pork with a spoon so that the mince is nicely crumbled.Add the garlic, mushrooms, and salt; cook for 5 minutes until the mushrooms start to brown.
  4. Add the cabbage, snow peas, carrot, and spring onions. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the stir-fry sauce and stir. Cook for 3 minutes.
  6. Serve with chinese pancakes / rice paper wrappers / tortillas.


Directions – Plum Sauce

  1. Combine all ingredients in a pot and bring to a simmer over a high heat. Reduce to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Let cool to room temperature and then puree in a blender.
  3. Makes about 1 cup that can be stored covered in the fridge for several weeks.

Roast Pork Sirloin


  • Pork Sirloin roast
  • 4 crushed garlic cloves
  • 4 tsp chopped fresh rosemary / 2 tsp dried
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Optional: potatoes, carrots, zucchini etc. to roast.

Allergies: soy free, egg free, peanut free, dairy free, gluten free.


  • Prepare any vegetables that you want to roast. Personally, I used potatoes, carrots, and zucchini. I was useless at cooking potatoes and avoided doing so (using kumara instead) until I learned the trick of parboiling them (or similar). I chop them up and put them in the steamer in the microwave for about 10 minutes to give them a bit of a head start before placing them in the roasting pan.  You can brush the veggies lightly with olive oil before placing the pork on top – they just need a touch to keep from drying out before the fat from the pork starts to drip out.
  • Mix the garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper together. Moisten with a dash of olive oil. Rub it all over the pork.  Optional: I’m told that if you like garlic, you can also cut small slits in the pork fat and stick whole garlic cloves in to get some yummy roast garlic.
  • Place the fat side down. Place it on top of the potatoes etc. if you have any in the pan.
    • NOTE: I was rather puzzled when I read the initial recipe I was using as my pork roast was rolled and tied with string – it had fat all over! I shrugged and just chose a side to face up. Turns out this was an error (check out the photos below). If your roast is rolled up, cut the string and lay it flat with the fat facing the bottom of the pan. One end will be thicker as this cut is basically pork sirloin chops + pork belly.
  • Cook at 200’C for 30mins.
  • Check on the veggies and turn the roast over so that the fat is now on top. Roast for 25 mins.
  • Remove and stand for 10 minutes.

So… I’d never cooked one of these before and the rolled pork did seem to resemble the photo I saw on the internet. I didn’t realize that the string was supposed to be cut and the meat lay flat so the cooking (and learning) process took much longer than expected. My main concern was that the pork would dry out (a near thing!) so I was doing a lot of checking and basting towards the end. I also began to appreciate why some of my friends have a meat thermometer rather than needing to slice into the meat to check.


I steam my potatoes in the microwave for about 10 mins before putting in the roasting pan.

Oops – I put the pork in rolled up (as it came). The veggies cooked but the pork was still pink when I unrolled it. All I’d managed to do in an hour was to start cooking the fat on each side of the roll!

Rolling it out flat the meat and fat finally began to cook. After another 30 mins at 200’C there was definitely progress. By this point I was hungry and decided to speed things along.

I trimmed off the fat (just leaving a thin layer to provide moisture). I cooked it for about 20 mins at 180’C (basting regularly) and then grilled it to brown the thin layer of fat.


All turned out well in the end with a good collection of roast pork.


The fat I continued to cook to make crackling. The rendered fat and juices can be made into gravy or you can collect the fat as lard. Lard can be used for lots of things, for instance frying potatoes.

Excess roast pork can be frozen and kept for later meals such as pork fried rice or making pizza.

Grilled pork with strawberry balsamic glaze

This is a great way to use strawberries that are still fresh but a little bruised. It’s also nice to use them in a savoury dish for a change – especially if you’ve been eating lots after going strawberry picking! It met with toddler approval 🙂

This recipe does create rather more dishes than I’d normally prefer so is best if both mother and child are feeling happy, healthy, and relaxed. If you’re looking for a last minute quick and easy meal when you’re both feeling tired or stressed then I suggest Welsh Rarebit.


  • 400-500g pork to oven grill (i.e. pork chops, sirloin steak, tenderloin etc.)
  • Bacon strips (optional)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1/3c balsamic vinegar
  • 2/3c sliced strawberries
  • Salt and pepper
  • Potatoes (optional)

Allergies: soy free, dairy free, gluten free, egg free, nut free.


  1. I served this dish with roast potatoes so I started with those knowing they would take the longest to cook. My preference is to cut the potatoes and pre-cook them in a microwave steamer. Then place them in a roasting dish lined with baking paper and baste with a little olive oil.
  2. Take the pork and sear at a high heat for 1-2 minutes on each side.
    • The purpose of this is to help seal moisture into the pork so it’s worth taking the time for the extra step.
  3. Place pork in the roasting dish with the potatoes. Wrap the pork in the bacon strips. The bacon isn’t essential to the recipe but if you happen to have it then it’s a tasty addition! I’ve read recipes that suggest the bacon also helps the pork to retain it’s moisture (but mainly it’s tasty).
  4. Bake the pork at 180’C for 30 mins.
  5. While the pork is cooking start on the strawberry glaze.
    • In a pot (or glass Pyrex jug) heat olive oil and garlic.
    • Add balsamic vinegar and 1/3c strawberries (reserve the rest of the strawberries).
    • Bring to the boil. Then simmer for 10 mins (stirring occasionally).
    • Add salt and pepper to taste.
    • Add remaining 1/3c strawberries.
  6. Baste the pork and then grill till the bacon is crispy. (I flipped it and grilled it on both sides).
  7. Serve with remaining strawberry sauce, roast potatoes, and greens. Freshly picked basil also goes well if you happen to be growing some on the windowsill.

Allergy: Egg free, peanut free, dairy free, soy free.