This is a Szechuan dish that I always ordered whenever I saw it appeared in the restaurant menu… If I did not order, it must be because my guest don’t take pork belly …Though it is of Szechuan origin, it is such a common meat dish that is sold in most Chinese restaurants. I am not referring to those that are classy but those that cater for the locals.
I love the spiciness and the meaty taste of the pork belly and I have been on hold this recipe until I do not know how to deal with one piece of pork belly sitting in my fridge for ages. Since my kids don’t fancy pork belly, I have decided to prepare this dish and shared with my wife. Without taking them into consideration, I can add lots of chilli to the dish. Honestly, with this dish, there is no other dishes needed for me, not even a soup.. I just like to eat this dish with plain rice.. Of course such dish can only savour once in a while since it is a bit too high calorific..
I have a hard time to translate this dish… This dish is literally translated as “Meat put back to the wok”. This type of name is rather uncommon in Chinese terms, it is quite “crude” as it is using an action to describe a dish. I Google and Google translated for me as Twice Cooked Pork. It is not a bad name though it also sound a bit funny, but in essence the piece of meat was cooked twice. The pork belly was blanched before it is stir fried. Is it not many other Chinese dishes also need 2-3 steps of cooking and why didn’t they name it that way? Whatever it is, I have decided to use Twice Cooked pok since Wikipedia is also using this term. Per Wikipedia:
“Twice cooked pork (simplified Chinese: 回锅肉; traditional Chinese: 回鍋肉; pinyin: Huí Guō Ròu; Jyutping: wui4wo1yuk6; literally “return pot meat”; also called double cooked pork) is a Sichuan-style Chinese dish. The dish’s ingredients include pork, which is simmered, sliced and stir fried, and commonly stir fried vegetables such as cabbage, bell peppers, onions, or scallions with a sauce that may include Shaoxing rice wine, Hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sugar, ginger, chili bean paste and tianmianjiang bean paste. The process of cooking twice cooked pork involves first simmering pork belly steaks in water with spices, e.g. slices of ginger, cloves, star anise, jujubes and salt. After refrigeration to firm the meat, next it is then cut into thin slices. The pork is then returned to a wok and shallow fried in oil, usually along with some vegetables. The most common vegetables to accompany the pork are napa cabbage, bell peppers or scallions. Another simple way of preparing this dish is to cook the meat by itself until it is done, then fry it along with the other ingredients; however, an alternative method involves frying the meat by itself until cooked, then frying the vegetables separately for a while, and finally frying everything together.” (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twice_cooked_pork)
There are many recipes in the Chinese websites but the critical ingredients are pork belly, chilli, fermented red bean paste, and leeks as simple as that. There is nothing much to shout about and the must have seasoning is the bean paste as in the above picture which you can easily get it in Singapore supermarket like Sheng Shiong. Other brands is also acceptable as long as it is chilli red fermented soya beans paste (辣豆瓣酱）
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: 3-4 adults servings
- 500 grams of pork belly with skin
- 2 sticks of Chinese leeks
- 2 green chilli
- 2 red chilli
- 5 pieces of ginger (sliced)
- 1.5 tablespoons of chilli fermented soya bean paste
- 1.5 tablespoons of Chinese cooking wine
- 1 tablespoon of light soya sauce
- 1 teaspoon of salt
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Put the pork belly in a pot with cold water. Bring to boil and let it simmer until a skewer can pierce through with no bloody water secreting out. Set aside. It will take about 15-20 minutes. It need not to be completely cooked and the purpose is to let the pork harden to facilitate slicing. Over simmering can make the pork become hard. When buying the pork belly, you may want to ask the butcher to give you a 1”x1” x length size of pork belly such that is will facilitate your slicing.
- While the pork is simmering, cut the chilli, ginger and leek. For the leek, separate into white and green portion.
- Slice the pork belly thinly (about 2-3 mm thickness) when it is cooled. A bit uncooked in the centre is acceptable.
- In a wok, put minimum amount of oil (1/2 tablespoon) to facilitate pan frying. Put the ginger and the pork belly slices and pan fry under medium heat until golden brown. In this process, you will witness more and more lard will be secreted out. Once it is golden brown, add the red Chilli fermented soya bean paste. Stir fry for a 1-2 minutes under HIGH HEAT. Add the red cut chilli, green cut chilli and the white colour portion of the leek. Stir fry until the white leek portion is soft which took about 2 minutes. Add the green colour leek portion followed by cooking wine, sugar and light soya sauce. Give a quick stir, off the heat and the dish is ready to be served with hot steaming white rice.
I know you may be wary to use pork belly but if you used lean meat, ask for the most expensive fillet cut (梅肉）. Otherwise, your meat can be tough and chewy. In that case, you will need to use more cooking oil in the stir frying. Do give it a try and see if it suits your taste buds.
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