Pork dishes

JingJiangRouSi Shredded pork in ‘Capital’ (Beijing-style) sauce

This is a Beijing dish using strips of pork and Beijing-style wheat paste, which is slightly sweet. Hoisin or plum sauce (as for Beijing duck) may be used instead. In fact, it’s like a pork version of Beijing duck, and is normally served with small tofu sheets or wheat pancakes for wrapping it (which is quite tricky using chopsticks). The first time I had it, the pork was in only a little sauce and sitting on a bed of shredded raw spring onion, which definitely boosted the dish from merely good to outstanding. If you’re not fond of spring onions or leek, some shredded cucumber should do the trick. 

In the posh version in the second picture, green parts of spring onion, slivers of red chilli pepper and coriander leaves are rolled up in small pieces of tofu sheet. 

Ingredients – amounts are approximate.
Pork fillet (150 g)
Large spring onions (50 g)
Salt (1 g)*
MSG (1 g) (optional)*
Sweet flour paste (5 g)*
Soy sauce (3 g)*
Sugar (3 g)*
Cooking wine (10 g)*
Wet starch (corn or potato flour) (40 g)*
Stock (30 g)*

Slice pork into very thin slices. Then slice into thin shreds.
Slice spring onion into very thin shreds.
Soak the onion in cold water to crisp until read to serve.
Mix soy sauce, sugar, MSG, wet starch and stock in a small bowl. (The dish shouldn’t be sweet, but the sugar will counteract the salt of the sweet flour paste.)
Dilute a small amount of sweet flour paste with water to make a thin liquid.
Just before cooking, marinate pork shreds in salt, cooking wine and some wet starch. Add a small amount of cold oil. (The oil will help separate the pork while it stir-fries.)

Heat wok.
Add oil to wok.
Add pork and stir-fry until cooked. Stir quickly to prevent overcooking. Remove.
Add the diluted sweet flour paste and stir until heated through. Remove from heat.
Slowly stir in the sauce mixture.
Return to heat, add the meat, and stir until the sauce is thickened.
Remove from heat and serve the pork on a bed of the onion shreds with tofu sheets or pancakes.

Gaoshan Xiaotudou
(Fried Spicy Potatoes)

Ingredients – amounts are approximate.
For the potatoes:
1½ lb new potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 Tbsp sunflower oil, plus  more for frying
1 Tbsp salt

2 Tbsp red chile oil (lajiao you)
1 tsp ground cumin 
2 tsp ground Sichuan pepper
1 Tbsp toasted white sesame seeds
3 thinly sliced spring onions
½ cup roughly chopped coriander leaves
Preheat the oven to 180C. 

In a large mixing bowl, toss together potatoes, 1 tablespoon of oil, and salt. Place potatoes on a baking tray, cover tightly with aluminium foil, and roast for 30 minutes. Remove potatoes from the oven and uncover.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together chile oil, peppercorns, cumin, sesame seeds, spring onion, and coriander.

In a pot over medium heat, add oil to a depth of at least 1 inch, and heat to 180C.
Carefully add potatoes to the oil and fry until they begin to brown, about 2 minutes.Stir the potatoes around as they cook, to ensure even frying. Don’t overfill the pan, fry in batches if necessary. 

When the potatoes are done, drain and remove to a paper towel-lined plate to remove excess oil. Then add the fried potatoes to the seasoning mixture and stir thoroughly to combine. 

Serve hot.

Zhajiang Mian
(“Deep-Fried Sauce” Noodles)

Ingredients – amounts are approximate.
½ lb ground pork
½ teaspoon salt
½ tsp white pepper
1 inch ginger, peeled, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
4 Tbsp sweet bean sauce (tianmianjiang) or hoisin sauce
1 tsp Chinese black vinegar
2 Tbsp mushroom or other dark soy sauce
2 tsp cornstarch
1¼ cup chicken stock

Noodles :
½ lb Chinese wheat noodles, spaghetti, or other long noodle

2 cucumbers, shredded
5 red radishes, shredded
1 large carrot, shredded
6 oz edamame, blanched, shelled
4 scallions, thinly sliced

In a mixing bowl, thoroughly mix pork, salt, pepper, ginger, and garlic. Set aside. 

Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse the noodles and set aside.

Add oil to a wok over medium heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the marinated pork mixture and stir-fry for 4–5 minutes, or until all of the meat is cooked through. Stir in sweet bean or hoisin, vinegar, and soy sauce, and continue to stir-fry for 3 minutes. 

In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and chicken broth or water. Stir this mixture into the wok, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Evenly distribute noodles into bowls. Then top with some sauce from the wok, followed by the garnishes. Mix it all together and eat.

Stir-fried pork and garlic shoots (US: garlic scrape)
华文宋体 (suàn tāi ròu sī)

This is home-cooked family fare, rarely found in restaurants, shown to me by students and fellow teachers independently, though unlike most dishes, without much variation. The garlic chive looks a bit like a thin spring onion, with no bulb at the bottom, and it has a mild taste, a bit stronger than chives. The flavour is not super-strong, but quickly becomes addictive. Chinese supermarkets often have them. In fact, this recipe works just as well as Pork with spring onions or Pork with sliced green beans as I’ve discovered recently by experimenting, although with beans, you might want to add a little onion and garlic. You could also slice the beans on the diagonal, just for the appearance.
The example in the picture has a couple of red chillies added for colour.

The proportion is about 80% veg and 20% pork (by volume, not by weight).

Slice about 50g of lean pork per person thinly, then slice it across the way, until it looks like thick matchsticks. Put it in a bowl, add some Chinese cooking wine, soybean paste, a little sesame oil, and (optional) ginger juice (available in China in bottles – saves a lot of messing about with fresh ginger, but that’s the alternative) and mix well. A little soy sauce is also optional.  Leave to marinate while you prepare the garlic, by washing and chopping it into similar (matchstick) sized pieces.

Have a clean bowl ready. Heat the wok, add a tablespoon of oil (preferably peanut oil), and when it starts to smoke, throw in the pork and stir it about so each piece is separate. It cooks very quickly, a few seconds if the oil is hot enough. Drain the pork into the clean bowl.

Clean the wok, because there may be little burnt bits, which you don’t need. Then heat it again and add some fresh oil (same amount or less). At the smoking point, throw in some chopped normal garlic (and ginger, if you like), then the wild garlic, stir it all about quickly, throw in the pork again, stir it about, turn down the heat (add salt and pepper, if you like, at this point – some soy sauces and bean pastes are pretty salty, so salt may not be necessary), add the leftover marinade and stir to make sure everything is coated, turn down the heat, cover, and leave for a couple of minutes to steam in its own liquid, then it’s ready to serve.

According to The Omnivore’s Cookbook, where I also found the (I think over-fussy) “American-Chinese” recipe below,  there are a few varieties of chives in Chinese cuisine and the nomenclature can be confusing. Namely, there is the thin, flat Jiu Cai (韭菜, Chinese chives), which are a common ingredient in dumplings. They require a shorter cooking time and will turn soft once cooked. 

The garlic chives in the American-Chinese recipe are also called flowering chive, flowering leek, or leek flower (Jiu Cai Hua, 韭菜花). This kind has a hollow stem and an unopened flower bud on top. It’s a key ingredient in “leek flower sauce” which is commonly used in hot pot dipping sauce. Cooked normally, they will be semi crisp and soft while keeping their shape.

And the other one is garlic sprout, or garlic scrape (蒜苔, Suan Tai). It has a round stem. Once cooked, the stem will taste meaty and crisp, similar to the texture of cooked asparagus. This is the one I would normally use for this dish, because I like the texture.

American-Chinese recipe:

Pork & marinade
8 oz (225 g) pork loin (or chop), sliced into thin strips
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
2 teaspoons cornflour
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Stir Fry
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 inch (2.5 cm) ginger , minced
4 birds-eye chilis , chopped (or 1 long green chilli, or a couple of dried red chillies)
8 oz (225 g) garlic chive, chopped into 2” (5 cm) pieces

Add the pork with the sugar, dark soy, and wine in a small bowl. Mix until the liquid is absorbed. Add the cornflour and mix again. Marinate for 15 minutes while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat a large frying pan or wok with peanut oil over medium high heat until hot.
Spread out the marinated pork in the pan with as little overlapping as possible. Cook undisturbed for 30 seconds, or until the bottom is cooked. Flip the pork. Immediately add the ginger, birds-eye chillies, and garlic sprouts. Continue to stir and cook for 1 minute.
Pour the sauce into the pan. Stir and cook until the sauce is reduced and coats all the ingredients. Immediately transfer everything to a serving plate to prevent overcooking.
Serve hot with rice as a light main dish, or as a separate dish.

You can use normal soy sauce instead of the dark soy sauce. The dark one adds a dark brown colour and a light caramel taste to the dish.
You can use other types of chillies or skip it all together. I use dried red chillies, added at the same time as the ginger.

Jian Bing
Chinese Crepes/Filled breakfast pancakes)

Ingredients – amounts are approximate.
2 tablespoons millet flour
2 tablespoons soy milk
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon water, if needed
1 tablespoon Chinese black bean sauce
1 teaspoon water
1/2 teaspoon chili bean sauce, or to taste
1 teaspoon water
cooking (oil) spray
1 egg, beaten
1/2 green onion, sliced
1 tablespoon torn fresh coriander leaves
2 whole crackers

Whisk together millet flour, soy milk, and vegetable oil in a bowl to make a batter the consistency of heavy cream. Add a teaspoon of water to thin the batter, if necessary.

Mash the black bean sauce in a small bowl with 1 teaspoon of water to make it easy to spread. In a separate small bowl, mix the hot chilli sauce with 1 teaspoon of water. Set the sauces aside.

Spray a large wok (or large frying pan) generously with cooking spray, and heat over medium-low heat. Pour the batter into the wok, and spread evenly to make a thin crepe. Cook the crepe for 1 to 2 minutes, until firm. Pour the egg evenly over the crepe. Cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes, until the egg is set. Sprinkle the crepe with green onion slices and coriander leaves, pressing them firmly into the cooked egg.

Flip the crepe and spread with bean sauce and chilli sauce. Place the crackers in the centre of the crepe, leaving about 1/4 inch of space between the two crackers. Flip the top third of the crepe down over the crackers, flip the bottom third up, and then fold the crepe in half so the crackers are stacked on top of each other in a tidy package. Serve hot.

For the crunchy filling, use any kind of savoury cracker, a piece of crisp fried wonton skin, or a piece of fried pork rind.

Alternatively, fill with dough sticks.

You can substitute all-purpose flour for millet flour, and normal milk for soy milk.

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