Taiwanese Five Spice Pork – A Milk Street Recipe

One Saturday a couple of weeks ago, I was watching a show in Netflix in the den and DH went to the basement.  He turned on the TV, only to find that one was recording the day’s Milk Street show on PBS.  He watched for a bit, and decided the recipe being demonstrated looked pretty good.  He mentioned it to me, and I went to my Milk Street cookbook to see if it was there.  Sure enough, it was!  And, I only needed a couple more ingredients to try it.  So, next time at the store, I picked up a few more things, and we gave it a go.

Taiwanese 5-Spice Pork at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

My only problem was the sherry called for in the recipe.  The grocery which has beer and wine didn’t have it.  I also didn’t want to buy a big bottle for just a little amount.  No, I absolutely will not use cooking sherry, it has too much salt added.  Never cook with something you wouldn’t drink.  I looked up sherry online, and found it is a combination of wine and brandy, which is said to add a woodsy and fruity flavor.  A substitute is Apple Cider.   That got me thinking, I did have some Apple Bourbon.  What the hey, I’ll just use that.

Taiwanese 5-Spice Pork at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

I wanted to cut the recipe in half for just the two of us, and I find it best to carefully set up a mis-en-place making sure all the measurements are right before beginning.

Taiwanese 5-Spice Pork at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

The recipe starts with marinating the pork in some of the soy sauce.  I started the rice cooking too.

Taiwanese 5-Spice Pork at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Then you have to cook the onions until brown, so I chopped them first.

Taiwanese 5-Spice Pork at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Saute in grapeseed oil.

Taiwanese 5-Spice Pork at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Keep going until they are browned.  The recipe says 25 minutes, but I got to this point around 10 minutes and went ahead.  We were hungry and the aroma was starting to permeate the kitchen.  I also chopped my onions rather than the long strips the recipe wanted.  The garlic was chopped while this was cooking, and then added for a one minute saute.

Taiwanese 5-Spice Pork at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Add the spices and liquids, then bring the mixture to a simmer.

Taiwanese 5-Spice Pork at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Keep going until the sauce become syrupy.  You’ll know when it is enough when a spoon dragged across the pan leaves a trail.  It was hard to get a picture of this as the steam kept fogging the lens, but you get the idea.

Taiwanese 5-Spice Pork at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Then add the pork to the pan, and cook until no longer pink, stirring often.

Taiwanese 5-Spice Pork at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

I wanted to do the whole recipe, which involves a new way to cook eggs.  The recipe says to steam them for seven minutes, then plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.  When I pulled them out with tongs, I put broccoli into the steamer as our side dish while I peeled the eggs.

Taiwanese 5-Spice Pork at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

I did that while the pork was cooking.  Peeling these little suckers wasn’t easy as they are soft and squishy, but I managed it.

Taiwanese 5-Spice Pork at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Pork is served over jasmine rice with a garnish of green onion and half of a soft cooked egg.  Broccoli on the side gives the dish a nice color. I like my eggs just a bit more done than this, but it did turn out exactly as the recipe photo.  Next time I’ll let it go just a bit more.

Taiwanese 5-Spice Pork at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

The dish has a sweet and savory blend of flavors, from the cinnamon in the five spice powder contrasting with the smoky flavors of browned onions and garlic.

Taiwanese 5-Spice Pork at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

The Taiwanese 5-Spice Pork recipe on Milk Street is free until November 10.  You do have to give an email address for their mailing list, but there is no charge for it.  (Update – For those new to Milk Street, the recipe is not in their new download, it is on the site.  If you don’t get to it after you enter your email, just search for the title.) This is not an affiliate link.  There is a print button there to download the recipe.  You can also do a free 14-day trial for their online subscription.

Taiwanese 5-Spice Pork at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Or, get the Milk Street Annual Cookbook on Amazon with my affiliate link.

Taiwanese 5-Spice Pork at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Do you like to cook Asian dishes?

14 thoughts on “Taiwanese Five Spice Pork – A Milk Street Recipe


    Good switch re wine BUT many years ago a fiancee (Yup! It never went further even though he was a great cook.) taught me about a wine I should always have as a kitchen staple. It is only used when cooking and does wonderful things to food; it is not one to drink as I think it is horrid. I use it whenever a recipe calls for any white wine. Try a splash of it when cooking up a batch of mushrooms. It is very inexpensive as wines go. California sherry (medium dry) by Fairbanks. Hope you can find and try. Doreen

  2. I was just thinking I need to find some new recipes for ground pork. I might have to give this one a go. I agree you on the cooking sherry – yuck. As for Asian recipes, I make a mock Korean beef from a recipe I found on Pinterest. It’s fast and simple, using ground beef.

  3. Karen Marlow-Goad

    the recipe sounds good to me – I like Asian food but I rarely cook it for some reason. I’m not a really a real good cook and I think I don’t try more recipes because hubby is very very picky it is hard to cook for someone who is mainly meat/potatoes and not willing to experiment a little when it comes to food from different regions.

    1. This comment is for Karen Marlow-Goad – I feel your frustration. I LOVE food from all regions but am in the same boat. I “used” to be a decent cook; but my husband is also a meat / potatoes guy who won’t touch a vegetable and hates sauces! I sometimes sneak the garlic and onions in when he isn’t looking with some meals. Could not get him to touch a grain of rice or broccoli. Now – that said; this is an interesting combination of foods and I would eat it. Left on my own I might make it too. 🙂

  4. I love that your husband stayed with the program and was interested in the recipe and wanted you to try it! Your pictures look very appealing. I look forward to “dining out” and ordering interesting foods that I don’t cook at home (see my comment to Karen above). I think it is one of the reasons I like cruising; I get to have food I don’t cook at home.

  5. Thanks for the info. I just signed up to get the recipe. It looks like a dish we enjoyed during the 4 summer we lived and worked in Taiwan after we retired. Looking forward to trying out the recipe.

  6. Nancy Myers

    Looks yummy. I signed up for the 12 recipes with the link you gave. Unfortunately, they must have changed The Milk Street samplers, because it is not in the document. I will try to watch the show and write it down. Searching the library is my next best option. I visited Taiwan and loved the food and really was looking forward to making this dish. – Update After filling out the email and getting the link, and checking out the 12 recipes there, I went back to close the page. I saw the email box had closed and the recipe was hidden under that pop up. I’ve always enjoyed Christopher Kimball. Didn’t know he had a magazine.

  7. Rosemaryflower

    this looks yummy.
    I used to sort of like cooking. These days, I do not like cooking anything.
    I will make grilled Salmon tonight but that is about it as far as attention dedicated to preparing meals. Sad but true.
    Happy Week-end

  8. Naomie Moore

    How funny, I watch the same program! Love Asian food! I happen to work at a very large firm with people from all over the globe. From them I have learned to cook things far different than European or American food. We have cooking parties and the guest cook shows us how to prepare a dish from their native country. Always well attended events and we always enjoy the food. Living in the greater Los Angeles area, it is generally not to difficult to obtain ingredients or at least a satisfactory substitution. PBS and some of the Food TV programs are some of my favorites. Always fun to expand your horizons and learn new things!

  9. dezertsuz

    I’m not crazy about cooking anything, but I like to EAT Asian cooking. =) My husband would have enjoyed making this, I think. It looks delicious.

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