Golden Potato and Pork Rings

This Christmas, I have collaborated with twelve fellow homechefs and food bloggers from around the world in a cook-together challenge, inspired by the presents from the carol “12 days of Christmas”. Each of us creates ideas in the realm of food recipes for 12 days as we count down to Christmas. Corresponding to “my true love’s gift of five golden rings” on the 5th day of Christmas, I made these meaty potato and pork rings, drizzled with a glossy tamarind sauce. They are a crowd pleasing side as well as a perfect way to use up the leftover mashed potatoes.

I slightly tweaked the Burmese potato cutlet recipe where mashed potatoes encase a stuffing of curried ground meat or shrimp. Instead, mashed potatoes are mixed with minced pork and onions, both caramelized to build the deep flavors of the meat and maximize the sweetness of onions. This browning process intensifies the overall flavor of the meat rings while potatoes keep them soft and moist. It will be a complete package of all flavor profiles when you round up the rings with some kick of heat, few sweet notes and a nice tangy touch of the tamarind dipping sauce.


Serving: 3 – 4 people

Yield: 8 rings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

For the meat rings
  • 2 red potatoes
  • ½ cup of onions, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup of minced pork
  • 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil
  • 4 tbsp. of bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. of milk
  • 2 tbsp. of chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp. of garlic salt
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. of paprika
  • 1 tsp. of cornstarch
For the dipping sauce
  • 1 tbsp. of tamarind pulp, soften and diluted with ½ cup warm water
  • 3 tsp. of brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. of fish sauce
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 green chilies, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. of chopped cilantro

Process

Making the rings
  • Boil the potatoes, peel and mash them.
  • Caramelize the onions, garlic and minced pork together till brown.
  • Cook the meat with few splashes of water for 10 minutes. Season with a teaspoon of salt. Make sure there is no residual liquid.
  • Let the meat cool down.
  • Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
  • Form the potato and pork mixture into donut-size round patties and poke a hole in the middle.
  • Chill the meat rings in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Frying the rings
  • Dissolve 1 teaspoon of cornstarch in ¼ cup of water.
  • Coat each ring in the cornstarch liquid before frying.
  • In a pan, heat two inches of vegetable oil over medium heat. (Oil is ready when you dip the end of a wooden chopstick and there is a steady bubbling around it)
  • Slowly place couple of rings in the oil at a time. Do not overcrowd the pan as you will need space when flipping them.
  • Fry the rings to golden for 2-3 minutes on each side, flipping only once.
  • Keep the temperature at medium at all times since meat rings will disintegrate if the oil is too hot.
  • Drain on paper towel.
  • Potatoes may be extremely soft when hot so rest them on the rack for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Making tamarind dipping sauce
  • Bring the tamarind juice to a boil in a pot.
  • Stir in the rest of the ingredients except cilantro.
  • When the sauce is reduced by half, add the chopped cilantro.
  • Let the sauce cool down and sieve it through a strainer to get a smooth sauce.

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