Salt and Pepper Pork Chops


These salt and pepper pork chops from Christopher Kimball are covered in a spicy pepper and cornstarch mixture and pan fried until tender. They’re topped with scallions, cilantro, and chiles for an easy riff on the classic Chinese dish.

Several seared salt and pepper pork chops topped with a scallion and pepper mixture on a platter with a spoon resting on the side.

Adapted from Christopher Kimball | Milk Street: The World in a Skillet | Voracious, 2022

The salt-and-pepper treatment is a Cantonese technique applied to meat, seafood, and tofu. The protein typically is deep-fried, but here we opt to pan-sear pork that we first dust in cornstarch seasoned generously with Sichuan pepper, black pepper, and cayenne.

In a classic salt-and-pepper dish, chiles and garlic are quickly fried and tossed with the cooked protein for big, bold, in-your-face flavors. We, however, finish the pan-seared pork chops with a fresh, punchy uncooked mix of sliced scallions, chopped cilantro, minced chiles, rice vinegar, and grated ginger.

The easiest way to grind the tongue-tingling Sichuan peppercorns for this recipe is in an electric spice grinder. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.–Christopher Kimball

Salt and Pepper Pork Chops FAQs

Can I use bone-in pork chops?

We recommend you stick to boneless loin chops or cutlets that are 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick. They’ll cook quickly and evenly.

What is five-spice powder?

Five-spice is a blend of herbs and spices, four of which are cinnamon, fennel, star anise, and cloves. Generally, you’ll see Sichuan (Szechuan) peppercorns or sand ginger as the fifth spice.

What should I serve with these pork chops?

Serve these easy pan fried pork chops with steamed rice and a cucumber salad for an easy weeknight meal.

Salt and Pepper Pork Chops

Several seared salt and pepper pork chops topped with a scallion and pepper mixture on a platter with a spoon resting on the side.

These Cantonese-inspired salt and pepper pork chops are coated in spiced cornstarch and pan-seared until golden. They’re topped with a spicy scallion, cilantro, and chile mixture. An easy, gluten-free, weeknight meal.

Christopher Kimball

Prep 25 mins

Cook 15 mins

Total 40 mins

  • In a medium bowl, toss together the scallions, cilantro, chile, vinegar, ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

  • In a wide, shallow dish, mix together the cornstarch, Sichuan pepper, cayenne pepper, five-spice, black pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt.

  • Dredge the cutlets in the cornstarch mixture, turning to coat both sides and pressing so the mixture adheres, then transfer to a large plate, stacking or shingling as needed.

  • In a 12-inch (30-cm) nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until barely smoking. Add half of the cutlets and cook until browned on the bottoms, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip the cutlets and cook until golden brown on the second sides, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a platter and tent with foil. Cook the remaining cutlets in the same way, using the oil remaining in the skillet.

  • Spoon the scallion-cilantro mixture onto the chops and serve.

Serving: 2chopsCalories: 465kcal (23%)Carbohydrates: 9g (3%)Protein: 37g (74%)Fat: 30g (46%)Saturated Fat: 6g (38%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 14gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 114mg (38%)Sodium: 813mg (35%)Potassium: 747mg (21%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 1g (1%)Vitamin A: 499IU (10%)Vitamin C: 7mg (8%)Calcium: 40mg (4%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Originally published June 17, 2022

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