Thursday, April 21, 2011

Double Take: Hoisin Pork Tenderloin

It seems we're on an Asian kick lately with some of our double take posts. Never fear, the fortune cookie from this meal predicts big changes coming in the future.

For those wondering what Hoisin (hoy-sin) is imagine the sweet sauce you've had in an asian dish. Its commonly used in sweet dipping sauces and has a reddish brown color. The consistency is like thickened ketchup. In general, I really enjoy it but its always possible to have too much of a good thing....well I guess that depends on your persuasion. I know some folks that can't have too much chocolate. However, in general, balance is a good thing.

Mel picked this recipe knowing how much I've enjoyed hoisin sauce in the past. In fact, it was a big deal for me to learn what sauce was being used to create the sweet flavor. Initially, I was so excited about it, we prepared a number of dishes using hoisin sauce. The dipping sauce I used to agedashi tofu last week included a little bit of hoisin in balance with other ingredients. This week's recipe features it as a major flavor. Originally from Cooking Light, the recipe is basically a marinade that is later concentrated into a sauce.

While preparing the marinade, I made sure it taste it. The balance seemed good to me. After cooking though, the sauce was a bit too sweet. I suggest tempering it with soy sauce and/or rice wine vinegar until you hit a flavor that you prefer.

Hoisin Pork Tenderloin with Steamed Broccoli

Hoisin Pork Tenderloin (adapted from Noble Pig )

Servings: 6

Prep Time: 2 hrs, 10 min  (includes 2 hour marination)
Note on Prep Time: I would suggest making the sauce the night before you plan to cook the dish. Why? The sauce sweetness changed dramatically in flavor. It was too sweet when I made it the day of cooking.

Cook time: 25 minutes


1/2 c. hoisin sauce (feel free to halve this amount, if you prefer a less sweet sauce)
3-4 sliced green onions
1/4 c. low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
4 cloves of garlic (feel free to double here)
1 pound pork tenderloin
1 Tbsp sesame seeds

How To:

(Make the sauce the day before you plan to cook the meat!)

Mix together the hoisin sauce, green onions, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and garlic. You can either a) heat it for one minute to a simmer in a sauce pot and allow it to cool for 5 minutes or b) directly proceed with the recipe without heating the sauce. I'd heat the sauce but its up to you.

Pour into a plastic bag or a glass or plastic marinating dish. I prefer glass b/c it doesn't absorb the flavors, has easy cleanup, and is reusable. If you use a plastic ziploc bag, be sure to throw it away after using it with chicken or pork.

Add the pork to the bag and marinate 1-2 hours or overnight. I marinated for 1.5 hours. (Hunger overtook me and preparedness did not.)

(The day of cooking)

Preheat your oven to 425 F. *

Place your pork in a baking pan and set into the oven, reserving the marinade.

Heat the marinade in a pan or small pot on the stove top. Boil it for two minutes. Then remove from heat until ready to serve. As it cools, taste it. If its too sweet, now is a good time to modify it to your taste.

Bake the pork for 15 minutes. Remove it from the oven and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Place back in the oven for 3-5 minutes.

Serve immediately if your tenderloin was already sliced. If your tenderloin is whole, allow it to sit at least 5 minutes before slicing so that you retain the flavor of the juices in the meat.

*As an alternative to the warming days ahead, you could heat up the grill instead of the oven. Cook these 5-7 minutes each per side at medium heat. Then serve with sauce.


Wow, this sauce is way too sweet. In the future, I'd halve the hoisin. Alternately, you can compensate for the hoisin by adding more soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Add a little and then taste so that you don't overshoot.
Honestly, there are a lot of other ways I prefer pork. To be perfectly honest, I didn't find the pork without the sauce to be a mind blowing awesome taste. It was just ok. With the sauce, the sweetness was overpowering until the sauce was readjusted. Be sure to keep some soy sauce and rice wine vinegar handy so folks can adjust to their taste.

Update: When I tried this dish the next day, it was EXCELLENT. Not too sweet, not too salty, but just right. Yes, I know I sound like Goldilocks. Seriously, I tasted the sauce cold and hot reheated and both ways it was tasty. Maybe my taste buds were off the night I made it. I have reheated leftovers of it twice now and been pleased both times. Coworkers were even tasting the sauce and enjoying it. One guy said he'd could eat a bowl of the sauce alone. Wow. Either way, this would now be a repeat for me but I would make the sauce the night before and possibly even heat it before using it as a marinade. I'm making the notes in the recipe above for your convenience.

Don't take my word alone on this recipe. See what Mel thought over at Fabulously Fun Food.

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