Twice Cooked Pork – Tender Stir-Fry Pork with Wild Garlic
Oh, this is so good. I’ve got lots of friends who say “I’m not that keen on Chinese food” and that’s because they’ve only eaten the high calorie, often fried, maybe too spicy version that some restaurants serve. If you only ate a particular food from a takeaway outlet (apart from the honourable exception of fish and chips and possibly pizza which are both the ultimate street food dishes) do you think you would like it? Give the home cooked, made with love, made with care, made with fresh ingredients version a go. It’s also a high-vegetable low-meat cuisine, which should suit our new attitude to food.
Something that puts UK home cooks off Chinese food is the use of authentic ingredients. I understand that. I’m lucky to live near the UK’s best Chinatown (biased, me? Maybe) and can get my ingredients from the Manchester Chinatown supermarkets. But if you don’t live near a genuine store run by Chinese people, you can get a lot of this online. You can also carefully substitute some British ingredients. For instance, this recipe is often made in China with a green vegetable called “garlic shoots” – like a spinach that tastes of garlic. So use the European Wild Garlic foraged from your hedgerow, and hey presto, fusion cooking at its best.
Honestly, try this one. It’s easy to make the main parts ahead while you’re doing something else so you can finalise the dish in minutes when you get home from that swimming lesson and you need something on the table right away.
Thanks again, Fuchsia Dunlop, for the base recipe and the history.
Serves 6 Timings: Day 1 - 10 minutes preparation, 1 hour simmering.
Day 2 – 30 minutes (which is mostly prepping the veg)
Simmer the pork belly piece in water with the simmering spices added. Cover the pork with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 40 minutes until it is cooked through. Leave to cool in the cooking water and then remove from the liquid and put in the fridge overnight.
Remove the skin from the top of the pork – leaving as much of the fat as you can. Genuine Chinese cooks leave on the skin, which does contain lots of gelatine for healthy hair and skin, but it may not suit British tastes. Remove any bones or gristle from the underside of the piece.
Slice the cold pork as finely as you reasonably can. Each slice will have a generous top of fat and then a meaty part further down. If you don’t need all the pork in one meal, you can freeze the slices in layers on greaseproof paper and then wrapped in a bag – so you can cook them straight from frozen another day and save all the simmering and cutting time.
Heat some oil in your wok. Quickly fry the garlic, chilli and ginger to release their flavours. Push to the side of the wok and drop in the slices of pork. Fry them briefly – they will sizzle and release their lovely spicy fatty flavour. Turn them once or twice in the oil to be sure they are well cooked and a bit crisp, then push them to the side of the wok.
Stir fry the spring onions, celery and red pepper quickly, then push them to the edge of the wok too.
Spoon the yellow bean paste into the middle of the wok and fry briefly. Add the black beans and crispy chilli in oil and mix in. Bring the meat and the fried vegetables back into the centre of the wok and mix well. Add the handfuls of green leafy vegetables and stir very briefly to heat them and cook through quickly. Add the soy sauce.
Taste and adjust – you might need a little more soy.
Serve with plain steamed rice or over lightly cooked noodles.
A Hug from the Kitchen
Healthy, hearty, happy food, for good times and bad. Cheer yourself up, or spread the cheer around your family and friends.