Air Fried Pork Shoulder with Spicy Chilli Dip
Tender, savoury with a hint of saltines and healthy; this is what strips of the Air Fried Pork Shoulder taste like. Served with Thai Spicy Chilli Dip, the sourness and spiciness mellow out the richness of the pork, tingling the tastebuds for more. Eaten hot from the air fryer, this is a family meal that is easily adapted and enjoyed together.
Air Fried Pork Shoulder with Chilli Dip Recipe
For this recipe, I used the shoulder cut of the pork. It has a good amount of fat to meat ratio; perfect for roasting and baking. We want to use a cut with some fats to enhance the taste of the pork. I used salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika powder as seasonings. Other powdered ingredients can be added too as preferred.
The pork really stands out with the Thai-style chilli dip, which is also very simple to make. The amount of red bird’s eye chillis can be adjusted according to your spicy tolerance level; while the normal chillies were added for colour and mild spiciness. Vinegar is used to give a nice sour tang to the dip while functioning as a preservative at the same time. A little sugar is added to balance out the chilli’s spiciness and vinegar’s sharpness; which can be omitted if preferred.
Marinating the Pork Shoulder
I used fresh pork for this recipe. If yours is frozen, make sure to thaw it out before seasoning.
Rub the salt evenly on the pork shoulder on one side. Then, sprinkle the garlic, pepper and paprika powder over the meat. Rub to evenly distribute the seasonings over the meat. Flip the pork to the other side and repeat.
Leave it aside at room temperature for 20 minutes to marinade. Otherwise, it can be left in the fridge for 2 hours.
Making the Thai Chilli Dip
Meanwhile, cut the red chilli into smaller pieces. If preferred, remove the red bird’s eye chilli seeds and centre. This will greatly reduce its spiciness potency. I keep mine with the seeds intact as my family enjoys spicy food.
Then, add the garlic, bird’s eye chillies, red chillies, sugar, salt and distilled vinegar into the blender. Switch on the plug and blend until the chilli mixture resembles a wet paste, and is fine. This should take around 20 seconds.
There may be some bubbles on the surface; this is normal as the air is incorporated during the blending process.
If a blender is not available, it can be made with a pestle and mortar. Pound the garlic and chillies first. When it resembles a fibrous paste, add in the sugar, salt and vinegar. Then, stir until it is well mixed.
Empty the chilli dip into a serving bowl and keep aside.
Air Frying Pork
Prepare the air fryer. Neatly arrange the pork shoulder in the air fryer so there are no overlaps. As my air fryer is quite small, I’ve made use of a wire basket to “stand” the pork to maximize the space. This helps to cook them all in one batch. Otherwise, the pork can be split into 2 batches as well. However, once the first batch is done, it’s recommended to serve it immediately.
Close the air fryer. Set the temperature to 180°C and the timer to 20 minutes. Turn on the air fryer and let it cook for 15 minutes. The pork will be fully cooked in 20 minutes. However, as I’ve propelled the meat to “stand”, I will need to flip them around when they are 80% cooked so they are well-done.
After 15 minutes, turn off the switch and open the air fryer. The aroma is just so mouth-watering! Using a pair of food tongs, carefully flip the pork meat. They should be quite brown, but some parts are still grey-ish. Close the air fryer and turn on the switch again. Let it cook for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare an oil absorbent paper and layer it on a chopping board.
When the 5 minutes are up, turn off the switch again and carefully remove 1 pork shoulder at a time. By now, they should be fully cooked and look very delicious! Place the pork shoulder on the chopping board and cut them into strips of the desired size.
Arrange the pork shoulders on a serving plate and serve with the Thai spicy chilli dip.
It’s tender, savoury, with a hint of saltiness and heat from the paprika. When eaten with the chilli dip, the sourness and spiciness envelops the richness of the pork and blend well together. It goes very well with rice, or with lettuce wrap. It can even be eaten on its own.
Air Fried Pork Shoulder Recipe with Chilli Dip
- Air Fryer
- Food Tongs
- Oil Absorbent Paper
- Chopping Board
- Small Wire Basket
Pork Shoulder & Marinade
- 500 g pork shoulder, 80% lean, 20% fat, washed
- ½ tbsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ½ tbsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp paprika powder
- 3 tbsp white vinegar, distilled
- 1.5 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 pieces red bird's eye chilli, washed
- 3 pieces red chilli, washed
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled & washed
Marinade Pork Shoulder
- Sprinkle salt on the pork and rub to marinate.
- Sprinkle half of the seasonings: pepper, garlic powder and paprika powder. Rub to marinate.
- Flip the pork shoulder. Sprinkle and marinade the rest of the pepper, garlic powder and paprika powder.
- Let it marinade for 20 minutes.
Making Chilli Dip
- Blend the garlic, bird eye chillis, chili, sugar, salt and vinegar until fine, about 20 seconds.
- Pour out into a bowl. Garnish with cilantro leaves.
Air Frying Pork Shoulder
- Air fry the pork shoulder for 20 minutes at 180°C.
- After 15 minutes, switch off the heat. Turn the meat to the other side. Continue to air fry.
- After 5 minutes, switch off the heat. Remove pork from air fryer.
- Layer chopping board with oil absorbant paper. Cut pork into thin slices. Serve with chilli dip.
- Chilli amount can be adjusted according to spicy tolerance level.
- This dish is also perfect as lettuce wrap filling.
- Using a basket for the air fryer is optional. The pork shoulder can be split into 2 batches for cooking if necessary.
- Using oil absorbent paper is optional – it prevents the oil from the pork from staining the bamboo chopping board.
- Serve immediately once cooked. When the pork gets cold, it will be tough to chew.
- Chilli dip can last up to 1-2 weeks in the fridge, in a clean, dry airtight container. Always use a clean, dry spoon to scoop the desired amount.
- Pork shoulder can be kept in the fridge for overnight marination if preferred.
- Pork shoulder should be eaten immediately after cooking.