Twice-Cooked Pork

This dish often shows up on restaurant menus in America, and it seems there are a million different variations. Because the pork is cooked twice, you cannot make this with a very lean cut, and pork belly really is the way to go if you can find it – just be sure to serve it with lots of lower-fat vegetable sides to compensate for the high fat content. If you can’t find pork belly, use the least lean cut you can find – stay away from the loin.

I do try to stick to fresh, whole, close to the source ingredients, but in this recipe I do use tian mian jiang, which you can read about in the Pork Shreds with Chinese Broccoli post. Hoisin sauce or even miso paste, available in most conventional groceries’ Asian section is a fine substitute.

ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb pork belly, preferably from a pastured pig – better for you, for the pig, and for the environment!
  • 1 fresh red chili (or you can substitute 1/4 of a red bell pepper if you don’t like spicy food)
  • 2 scallions
  • 1 T oil
  • 2 T tian mian jiang
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 T Shaoxing cooking wine
  • 1/2 tsp salt, to taste

method:

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  2. In the meantime, seed and cut the chili into long strips, or, if you are really daring, cut the whole chili into rounds on a slight diagonal.
  3. Cut the scallions into 1″ pieces on the diagonal.
  4. When the water boils, add the pork, reduce to a simmer for 20 m. Do not boil, or the meat will be very tough.
  5. Remove the pork from the water, let it rest until cool enough to handle, then cut it into thin slices against the grain.
  6. Heat the wok over high heat, then add the oil just until it shimmers.
  7. Explode the chili until fragrant, then add the meat, stirfrying just until it is heated through and starts sizzling.
  8. Add the scallions and the remaining ingredients, stirfrying well to combine.
  9. Adjust the seasoning and serve.

variations:

You can add just about any vegetable to this dish, adding to its color and nutritional content – the most common additions seem to be bell peppers and bamboo shoots.

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