Saturday, May 28, 2011

Deep-fried Vegemite Pork

My friend, Joanna, was contemplating making a Vegemite Pork dish and wondered if it would work as well as Vegemite Chicken. I have tried making Vegemite Chicken before, but never attempted using pork. I guessed it would be like sweet and sour pork, but with a rich and salty base instead. Fortunately, I had a slab of pork belly in the freezer. So I started looking for recipes and found one on, which uses Marmite instead. I haven't eaten Marmite in a long time (not since my babyhood days when I used to have it with congee), but I think it's sweeter and milder compared to Vegemite, which tends to have a slightly more bitter aftertaste. So I added some sugar to the sauce as it packs quite a heavy punch (and probably because I decided to be generous, or too generous, with the Vegemite).

I tweaked the recipe a little and tossed the meat in egg white and wheat starch flour before deep-frying. I have always wondered how the chinese restaurants manage to get their deep-fried pieces of pork so light and crunchy. I may be one step closer to achieving this (but if anyone knows the secret, please share!). I decided to whisk the egg whites until light and frothy, and then tossed the meat in wheat starch flour. That way, when it's deep-fried, the flour-covered froth will form crispy little "globules" that puff up in the hot oil as it cooks. I experimented with different types of flour, and found that tapioca flour and rice flour produce more or less the same results as wheat starch flour (which is the flour used in making har gow or crystal prawn dumplings).

Ominous-looking and totally intense!

As Vegemite has a pretty intense flavour, it's best to adjust the amount used in the sauce according to individual taste. I prefer to use a fatty cut of meat like pork belly so that it keeps the meat moist and juicy, but you may also substitute with pork ribs. And if you are not a fan of yeast extracts, the deep-fried pork is wonderfully delicious on its own! Here is the recipe below:

Deep-Fried Vegemite Pork
Adapted from Amy Beh


600g belly pork, rind removed, sliced 1cm thick, 2cm x 4cm, and tenderised with a meat mallet
2 egg whites
1/2 cup wheat starch flour (or substitute with tapioca flour/rice flour)

2 tbsp light soy sauce
½ tsp thick soy sauce
½ tsp Chinese five spice powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp tapioca flour

1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp thick soy sauce (for colour)
1 tbsp Vegemite
1 tbsp maltose
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp sugar (optional - add to taste)
Dash of pepper
2/3 cup water

1/2 tbsp cornflour mixed with 1 tbsp water

  1. Combine pork with marinade for 3-4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Heat up oil in a wok for deep-frying. Using a fork, beat egg whites until frothy and almost doubled in volume. Dip a few slices of pork in the egg, and then toss in the wheat starch flour until coated evenly. Shake off excess flour and deep-fry the pork until golden brown and cooked. Drain on absorbent paper.
  3. Heat a little oil in a wok and add sauce ingredients. Bring to a simmering boil, then add cornflour mixture and simmer until it reduces to a thick syrupy consistency. Taste and check for seasoning. Add the pork and stir to coat evenly in the sauce for 1-2 minutes. Dish out onto a plate and serve with steamed jasmine rice.