Sunday 10 November 2013

Day 24: Cloudless Skies And Hot Sechuan Pork

Actually the day started with squalls and showers. I was on watch from 00h00 to 03h00, spending one and a half hours at the helm fielding squalls. Not that I complain. No, the drizzle was quite welcome. Just cool enough to warrant a light rain jacket.

After having overcast weather for alomost the whole time, we now have entered into that area close to the equator where weather patterns change from southern to northern hemisphere weather. Although there is the prevailing wind, now easterly, you also find squalls. A bit of muddled weather though. Like Mother Nature telling you that here she is somewhat undecided on what to givr you in the way of weather challenges.

Keeping you busy, making life interesting. Especially coupled with the almost full moon that we have at present. This could well have been the introduction or end scene for one of the Lord of the Rings films. Majestic is probably a good description of what I am seeing.

The squalls cleared towards sunrise and we had the most beautiful day of our voyage. Towards the middle of the morning ther was only a few wisps of cloud left on the horizon, with the sun blazing down from almost right overhead. Lierally.

We are now just over eight degrees south of the equator and the sun is at present a tad over nine degrees south. One degree from being right overhead. In fact, we crossed paths with the sun a few days ago. This makes for very interesting celestial navigation exercises.

Noon sights are quite inaccurate, due to the high elevation of the sun. basically almost at ninety degrees. So I have to wait for middle of the morning or afternoon before taking my sun sights for the day. Having a blazing sun also brings its limitations, as the light path cast by the sun on the water makes the horizon blend in with the sky. The contrast between sea and sky is almost nothing, making the sight more difficult. You can see the sun clearly, but not the horizon. Win some, lose some.

After discarding one of the three sights, I still managed to limit the damage to 14 miles difference between the ship's GPS and my plot. My dead reckoning efforts are also paing off, as the DR position is actually quite accurate now that I consider leeway as well.

Today was my turn at galley duty. I made a hot Secuan pork withvegetable fried rice a la The Hungry Sailor. As cosmoploitan as you can get, I guess. Your favourite housewife from the Sechuan Procince will probably turn a sour nose at my version, but it is relatively quick to make and quite tasty.

This dish stir fries the battered pork cubes in light oil or butter. The vegetable fried rice is actually quite loaded with vegetables in this version, being about 50% of the total rice dish. Salt is provided via the soy sauce in both the meat and the rice, therefore no additional salt is required.

Preparation time is short if you happen to have frozen chopped vegetables like us. Else chop your own. The dish lends itself to a variety of vegetables. I added a can of sweetcorn for some bulk but mostly for the variety. About two to three cups of raw chopped vegetables will go with one cup of raw rice.

Add to this about 350 grams of pork cubes and you have enough food for four hungry adults. This is one of th\ose dishes that stretch your ingredients and yet provide a hearty, flavourful meal. I started with about 400g worth of pork chops, which were then deboned and cubed, leaving me with around 300-350 g of meat.

Our fresh chillies had run out, so I substituted this with a teaspoon of chilli, ginger and garlic paste. The3 preparation takes the longest, with the cooking very quick. I started the rice, then did the ret of the preparation. The rice was ready by the time the rest of the food was cooked.



400g pork chops, deboned and cubed

¾ cup corn flour (Maizena)

2 large eggs

1-2 hot chillies to taste

2-3 cups chopped vegetables including any of the following:


sweet green peppers



bean sprouts





green beans

bamboo sprouts

1 teaspoon garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon ginger, chopped

For the glazing sauce

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup vinegar

¼ cup sugar

oil for frying

¼ cup soy sauce or the rice and vegetables


Add the rice to two and a half cups of water and set to boil. Then carry on with the rest of the preparation.

Mix the vinegar, soy sauce and sugar for the glazing sauce and keep it ready

Mix the eggs and corn flour into a thick batter. Add the cubed pork and mix to ensure that all the meat is covered in batter. Add some oil to the frying pan and fry the meat until the batter goes brown. Make a hole in the center of the meat and add the chopped hot chillies. Stir fry these for thirty seconds, then mix the flavoured oil into the meat cubes. When done, add the glaing sauce and stir fry this until the sauce has thickened to your taste. Remove from the pan and keep warm.

In the same pan add some more oil, then fry the garlic and ginger for fifteen seconds. Add the onions and fry them until translucent, then add the rest of the chopped vegetables. Stir fry these until they are done and still a bit al dente. Now add the rice, which should be cooked by now. Mix through toroughly, then add the soy sauce to taste. The dish should not be too salty.

Then dish up.


Bon appetit!



Authored by Johan Zietsman

Last updated on 2013-10-18

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