My mother was an opera singer and whenever she had an evening performance, my father would be in charge of feeding me and my big brother. Mostly we ate whatever leftovers we could find in the fridge, but on nights when he had time, there was basically only one dish he would make from scratch—pork chops that he grew up eating in Taiwan.
I used to help him by pounding the meat, then setting the table, and serving up bowls of white rice, while my father got to pan frying the pork with lots of scallions. (My brother did nothing while this was all happening.)
My father stopped cooking for us when we became teenagers—he’d let us eat what we wanted (mostly fast food or dinner at our friends' houses), so it's been a few decades since he's cooked. He passed away in 2012 and my brother and I often request that my mother make this dish to remember him. My mother's version is pretty spot on—the pork is juicy, tender, and flavorful, and best eaten with chopsticks straight from the serving dish, or cold with your fingers from the fridge.
- 4 cloves garlic
- 7 scallions
- 1 pound pork loin (boneless center-cut chops)
- 7 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons extra-light olive oil (or any other cooking oil that can withstand high heat)
- 2 heads broccoli (with stems)