Sichuan-Style Pork Shreds and Green Beans

The cuisine of the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan is known for its bold flavors of chili, garlic, and the unique Sichuan peppercorn (Zanthoxylum piperitum). This recipe is an amalgam of several I found online and in cookbooks in my library—I will spare them the embarrassment of citation by name—and I make no claims about its authenticity. In China the green beans would likely be long beans (Vigna unguiculata). If you can find them by all means use them in place of ordinary green beans. The various hot pastes make this a rather spicy dish. You can tone it down by reducing or omitting the hot chili sauce and hot bean sauce but do not cut down on the Sichuan peppercorn or chili soy bean paste as their flavors are essential. If you prefer a somewhat sweeter dish replace the hot bean paste with hoisin sauce. Note that this recipe should include green onions but I had none on hand so I just left them out. If you have some shred a couple and add them toward the end of cooking. Serves 2 INGREDIENTS 8 ounces pork loin 2 tsp. Sichuan peppercorns, ground 2 Tbsp. soy sauce 1 Tbsp. corn starch 6 ounces green beans 1 Tbsp. minced garlic 1 Tbsp. chili soy bean paste 1 Tbsp. Sichuan hot chili sauce 1 Tbsp. hot bean sauce 2 Tbsp. oil ¼ cup water Steamed white rice to serve METHOD Cut the pork into shreds about the size and shape of a large wooden kitchen match (this is much easier if you partially freeze the meat first). Put into a bowl, add the Sichuan peppercorn, soy sauce, and corn starch. Mix well with your fingers and set aside. Trim the green beans and, if long, cut into 1½ to 2 inch lengths. Measure out the garlic and sauces into small bowls. Heat a wok on medium-high heat then add the oil. When hot stir-fry the pork shreds until no surface pink is visible, 3 or 4 minutes. Add the green beans and stir-fry for 1 minute then stir in the sauces and cook for another minute or 2. Finally, add the water and scrape the sides of the wok to dissolve the bits stuck to it. Serve immediately over steamed rice.

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