Besar Pork Chops

This recipe is adapted from one on the World Spice Merchant website. I highly recommend them as a source of spices and blends to inspire your cooking. They do ship to Canada and often offer deals. Here is the description of the Besar spice blend used:

This signature blend from Emerati cuisine is a balanced combination of savory and aromatic spices with a hint of heat and sweet to round things out. The whole mixture is toasted, creating incredible depth of flavor. Learn how to make the blend and use it in a range of recipes with WORLD SPICE AT HOME.


Cinnamon – Cassia Chip, Cumin Seed, Fennel Seed, Coriander Seed – European, Peppercorn – Black – Tellicherry, Turmeric, and New Mexico Chile Flake

serves 2 – easily multiplied

1/4 cup coconut oil or olive oil (I used coconut oil)

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (equivalent to the juice of 1 large lemon)

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons ground Besar (NOTE: make sure it’s finely ground or you’ll end up with crunchy seeds when you’re eating)

zest of 1 lemon (zest the lemon before you juice it)

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 centre cut pork chops


Make the marinade: melt the coconut oil in a small pan and set aside to cool to room temperature. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and mix well. Stir in cooled coconut oil. Add the pork chops and toss them gently to cover with the marinade. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.

NOTE: Prepare the other parts of this meal before you start cooking the pork chops, as they don’t take long at all. You can warm your plates in the oven as the pork chops cook if they will take the heat.

Preheat the oven to 350F/175C.

Sear the pork chops in a metal ovenproof pan, a few minutes each side to brown them. Put the pork chops still in the pan on the middle rack. Cook until internal temperature reaches 137F / 58C, about 5 minutes or so. Once temperature is reached, take an oven mitt   and remove the pan from the oven. Place pork chops with a good portion of rub on the plates with the rest of your meal, and enjoy!

If you’re looking for a wine with this meal, a dry Riesling would work nicely. For a red, choose something lighter like a Pinot Noir that has a fruitier profile as opposed to more full bodied (more in the French style than California).

** I served the pork chops with a pilaf scented with cinnamon, orange peel and bay leaf, to complement the Besar.  Use 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock with 3/4 cup wild rice and 1/4 cup quinoa, as well as 1 – 3 inch cinnamon stick, 1 tablespoon orange peel and 2 bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 30 minutes.  Before serving, remove cinnamon stick and bay leaves and stir in 2 green onions finely chopped.

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