February 10, 2011
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Also called Twice-Cooked Pork this, like Kung Pao Chicken and Ma Po Tofu, is an iconic Sichuan dish known around the world. And like any such traditional food it comes in seemingly endless variations. In such cases I like to read as many different recipes as I can until I feel I understand the essence of its preparation. The consensus that I tried to capture here is that it includes pork belly or fresh bacon, garlic, Chinese black beans, chilies, and a green, usually Chinese leeks, bell peppers, or cabbage. Of course, it you don’t like my recipe there are thousands more you can choose from.
- 6 ounces pork belly or side
- 1 piece fresh ginger the size of a quarter dollar, peeled
- 1 Tbsp. neutral oil, I use canola oil
- 6 medium cloves garlic, minced, about 2 Tbsp.
- 2 Tbsp. fermented black beans, rinsed
- 3 or 4 bird’s eye chilies, optional
- 1 medium onion
- ½ medium cabbage, about 12 ounces
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 1 Tbsp. hot bean sauce
- 1Tbsp. Sichuan hot chili sauce
Put the bacon into a saucepan along with the ginger and water to cover. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid for another use, discard the ginger, and cut the pork into strips and inch or so long by ¼-inch on a side. Set aside.
Quarter the onion through the root then cut each piece into ¾-inch slices. Cut the cabbage in half through the stem and remove the core. Slice each piece into thirds parallel to the original cut, then crosswise at 1-inch intervals.
In a wok over high heat warm the oil until it begins to smoke. Add garlic, fermented black beans, and chilies if using. Stir fry for a few seconds until fragrant then add the pork and continue to cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until the meat is crispy. Add the onion and stir fry for 2 minutes then add the cabbage and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes. Pour in the water and scrape anything that is stuck to the bottom of the work. Finally stir in the sauces, mix in well and allow to heat through, about 1 minute. Serve immediately over steamed white rice.