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How to Make Fried Pork Chops, From the Team Behind Hit Brooklyn Restaurant Win Son

Enjoy them on their own or with rice and fried eggs.

Win Son Fried Pork Chops with Basil Laura Murray

It began in 2016 with a Kickstarter. Friends Josh Ku and Trigg Brown posted a proposal for a restaurant on the crowdfunding site to raise $28,000 to get their joint effort Win Son off the ground in Brooklyn. The idea was that Ku (the son of Taiwanese immigrants) and Trigg Brown (who was mentored by a Taiwanese-American chef Pei Chang) would join forces to explore their mutual love of Taiwanese food. They raised more than $30,000 and have built a hit restaurant that has also expanded into a bakery as well. The duo teamed up with writer Cathy Erway to further extoll the virtues of Taiwanese fare with the recently released Win Son Presents a Taiwanese American Cookbook and they’ve shared the recipe some delicious fried pork chops to try at home.

Fried pork chops (pai gu) are very popular in Taiwan. Some are crispier, like da ji pai (big fried chicken), but some are glistening with caramelization. Some remind you of tonkatsu. The fried pork diversity in Taiwan is amazing. Fried pork chops make us think of a Taiwanese chain called Formosa Chang. It’s sort of fast food, but it’s done well, and it’s delicious. It’s a place where you can get fried pork chops and blanched sweet potato leaves with a little Taiwanese soy paste and a side of Lu Rou Fan (page 151). This place and Bojangles are high on our fast-food restaurant favorites. It may not be the gold standard of fried pork chops, but it sets a great bar. We could eat a whole plate of these fried pork chops alone easily, but they’re great served over rice (pai gu fan) with some pickled mustard greens and a fried or boiled egg to round out a dinner.

Win Son Presents a Taiwanese American Cookbook


Fried Pork Chops With Basil

For the Pork Chops

  • 8 pork collar steaks or chops, sliced about ¼ inch (6 mm) thick (see Note)
  • 3 tbsp. shio koji
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 4-inch (10-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 qt. (2 L) neutral oil, such as soybean
  • 1 c. (130 g) sweet potato flour, for dredging (can be found in Asian markets)
  • 1 bunch Thai basil leaves

For the Finishing Spice

  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 tsp. red chile flakes, such as gochugaru or Sichuan chile flakes

To Serve

  • Steamed rice
  • Sunny-side up fried eggs
  • .25 tsp. red chile flakes, such as gochugaru or Sichuan chile flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp. toasted white sesame seeds

MAKE THE PORK CHOPS: One at a time, lay the pork steaks on a cutting board and pound them to an even thickness (about 1/2 inch / 12 mm) with a meat tenderizing hammer. For frying, you want the chops to cook evenly and quickly, so pounding them out is important.

In a bowl, combine the shio koji, salt, Chinese five-spice powder, rice vinegar, sugar, light soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, ginger and garlic and coat the steaks with the marinade. Let sit covered in the fridge for one hour and up to four hours. (Too much longer and the vinegar will take over.) In a pot at least double its quantity, so that it doesn’t boil over, bring the neutral oil to 350°F (175°C), when measured with a candy thermometer.

In a dish, dredge your steaks thoroughly in the sweet potato flour. Make sure the flour gets in all the nooks and crannies, covering the topographical landscape of the pork. Prepare a wire rack over a sheet pan for landing the pork chops out of the fryer.

Carefully drop the pork chops into the oil one by one, working in two batches of four chops per batch. Fry for three minutes. At 2½ minutes in, throw in a handful of basil. Remove the chops and fried basil at three minutes of frying. Repeat this step for the remaining 3 chops and basil.

Once you remove the chops from the fryer, place on the wire rack–lined tray. (If you let them rest out of the oil on a plate or a few paper towels, it will cause the bottoms to become soggy.)

MAKE THE FINISHING SPICE: Combine the salt, Chinese five-spice powder, gochugaru and Sichuan chile flakes and sprinkle on each of the chops. Serve the chops with steamed rice, fried eggs and fried basil. Season the eggs with optional chile flakes and sesame seeds.

NOTE: We love to use pork collar, also known as CT Butt or coppa steaks. Look for it from butchers, but if you can’t source it, ask your butcher to slice chops that are about ¼-inch (6-mm) thick.

Win Son Presents a Taiwanese American Cookbook: $31.99

Recipe excerpt from the new book Win Son Presents a Taiwanese American Cookbook by Josh Ku, Trigg Brown and Cathy Erway. Text copyright 2023 by Josh Ku, Trigg Brown and Cathy Erway. Photographs copyright (c) 2023 by Laura Murray. Published by Abrams.

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