October 2014
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Kiwi-marinated Grilled Pork Tenderloin with a Kiwi and Fig Sauce

Kiwi-marinated Grilled Pork Tenderloin with a Kiwi and Fig Sauce October 20, 2014

Kiwi or kiwifruit, so named to distinguish it from kiwi, the hen-sized flightless bird of New Zealand. The comical and adorable-looking kiwi is native to New Zealand and is a natural choice for the national symbol of the country. Although there is no national fruit of New Zealand, the kiwifruit would be the likely candidate. The fruit is a native to Southern China and holds a special place in New Zealander’s hearts as a major crop.

Figs abound in Oregon. Kiwi, only so-so, but there are growers here developing crops.

Kiwifruit – Hairy and Plain Jane brown on the outside • Simply gorgeously green with black seeds inside














Let’s just throw the whole book at these beauties above and below: Luscious, delicious, succulent, lush, juicy, mouthwatering, lip-smacking, sweet, tasty, appetizing, scrumptious, yummy, nummy, ambrosial, sexy, nubile, ravishing, gorgeous, seductive, alluring, sultry, beautiful, stunning, gorgeous, hot, curvy.

Rich red color and seedy figginess inside our fig












The kiwifruit, native to Southern China where it is called yang tao or Chinese Gooseberry, began its journey to worldwide cultivation in the early 20th century. It was unfortunately named “melonette” for a brief period until New Zealand growers and exporters brilliantly renamed it kiwifruit after their famous bird.

The three major cultivators are Italy, New Zealand and Chile.

Kiwi is an exceptional source for vitamin C, fiber, potassium, antioxidants, lutein and zinc. It boasts a low glycemic index and is a natural blood thinner. Raw kiwi is rich in a protein-dissolving enzyme called actinidin, which also appears in papayas and pineapple. NOTE: Because of the actinidin, you should marinate any meat for no more than about 2 hours, or just enough time for the flavor to penetrate the meat slightly.

Kiwi-marinated Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Fig and Kiwi Sauce

Kiwi-marinated Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Fig and Kiwi Sauce












Serves 4-6

For the pork marinade:

  1. 1 kiwifruit, peeled and cut into pieces
  2. 4 teaspoons (20 ml.) soy sauce
  3. 2 teaspoons (10 ml.) lemon juice
  4. 3-4 teaspoons (15-20 ml.) agave syrup
  5. 1 large clove garlic, minced
  6. 2 pork tenderloins, about 1 pound (455 gr.) each
  • Place all ingredients except pork in a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Taste and adjust to balance sweet, sour and salty.
  • Place pork in a large resealable plastic bag, pour marinade over and seal. Massage bag to distribute the marinade so every surface of meat is covered. Place bag in the refrigerator and marinate for up to two hours, no longer.

For the pork and sauce:

  1. 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) butter
  2. 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) shallots, minced
  3. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) ginger, grated on a citrus zester
  4. 4 figs, cut in small dice
  5. 1 kiwifruit, cut in small dice
  6. ½ cup (120 ml.) dry white wine such as 2009 Cuvée A Amrita from Anne Amie
  7. 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) agave  syrup
  8. 1½ tablespoons ( 23 ml.) fig jam
  9. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) balsamic vinegar
  10. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) white balsamic vinegar
  11. ½ stick cinnamon
  12. Pinch of ground cardamom
  13. Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
  • Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add shallots and cook until tender.
  • Add ginger and stir.
  • Add figs, kiwifruit and stir.
  • Add the wine and mix thoroughly.
  • Add remaining ingredients and stir until mixed.
  • Lower heat and cook while stirring frequently until sauce thickens. If it gets too thick,  add a little more wine.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings to suit you: too sweet, brighten with a splash of lemon; too sour, add a bit more agave.
  • Remove from heat and hold until pork is cooked.

Note: The kiwi will lose its bright green color and meld into the sauce.

Grilling the pork:

  • Prepare a charcoal grill.
  • Remove the pork from the marinade and grill over hot coals until the temperature of the thickest part reaches 145-150 °F (63-66 °C) for medium rare (pink center).
  • Remove to a platter, cover lightly with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Slice diagonally and place on a serving platter.


  1. Four kiwifruit, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • Arrange the kiwi slices decoratively around the pork.
  • Drizzle some of the sauce over the pork and serve the remainder on the side.

We enjoyed this with the last of the 2009 Cuvée A Amrita from Anne Amie

Bon appétit

— Charles

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Victor Panichkul is a journalist and writer by training; a cook, wine lover and photographer by passion; and a lover of the outdoors since moving to Oregon more than 10 years ago. He is a native of Bangkok, Thailand.