Here’s what Nineteen at The Star’s Executive Chef’s favourite ingredient is…

Asking a chef to pick their favourite ingredient is like asking a parent to pick their favourite child, but we posed this difficult question to Uday.

“I’d have to say my favourite ingredient to cook with is pork”

“I’d have to say my favourite ingredient to cook with is pork,” says Uday. “It is just so versatile. You can prepare the different cut in so many different ways and create a variety of flavour profiles in dishes.”

So why pork compared to other meats? “The fat content and marbling mean it is moist and tender,” says Uday. “As long as you don’t overcook it. It does not need to be cooked to death; this is the number one mistake most people make. There are several organic and heritage breeds available at butchers but look for Berkshire. You can’t go wrong with Berkshire.”

The world’s most widely consumed and leanest meat can also be used for almost everything says Uday. Here are five ways this chef loves to use the delicious meat. 

Grilled double cut pork chops

These pork chops are cut doubly thick so it’s easy to give them a good char on the grill while ensuring they stay super-juicy. If you want to add flavour that packs a punch, try soaking them for two days in a homemade brine.

Smoked BBQ pork shoulder

The good news with smoked BBQ pork shoulder is that it is pretty hard to mess up. Bad news is that it can take a few hours to make, but it’s worth the wait reckons Uday. The best way to enjoy the smoky goodness of BBQ pork shoulder is as a pulled pork sandwich, which has roots to Uday’s southern American heritage. Pair the mouth-watering meat with slaw and a toasty warm bun.

Roast pork belly for Italian Porchetta

Traditionally an Italian Porchetta is made from a whole suckling pig, stuffed with flavourings like fennel and herbs. But this can be quite a big ask for a home chef which is why you can adapt the recipe to something easier to handle using pork belly and loin. The results are just as good.

Vindaloo spice rubbed baby back ribs

The secret to success when cooking pork ribs is patience. You want to cook them slowly on a low heat to ensure that they come out bursting with flavour and are extra juicy. If you’re not a fan of very spicy food then this is the perfect introduction dish as the end result is very mild, sweet and citrusy marinade coating the pork ribs.

Bacon. Bacon. Bacon.

For breakfast, lunch and dinner. Bacon can be enjoyed with most meals at any time of the day. Whether it’s in a classic bacon and egg roll, added to a pasta dish or simply placed in a BLT, it’s a go-to ingredient for Uday. It brings so many different flavour profiles to a dish. It’s smoky, salty, fatty and mouth-wateringly good.