Twice-cooked pork (回锅肉, hui guo rou) is one of the classic Sichuan cuisine dishes. Just as the name suggests, this dish has two cooking steps: firstly, boil until the meat is almost cooked; secondly, stir-fry.
In China, a chef specializing in Sichuan cuisine will tell you that the pork hunch should be selected to make an authentic twice-cooked pork dish, 40% fat and 60% lean. This part only has two layers. When it is stir-fried, it will take a beautiful curly shape like an oil lamp. (Oil lamp was used in China during non- electricity era.). Chili bean past (pi xian dou ban jiang, 郫县豆瓣酱 ), fermented soy (black) beans (dou chi,豆豉 ) and sweet bean sauce are the key sauces. (These three are all available in any Chinese supermarket in Philadelphia. ) The side ingredient is garlic leaves.
Chili bean paste and fermented soy (black) beans are the two most important ingredients for many typical Sichuan cuisine dishes. The former is made from broad beans and can be called the soul of Sichuan Cuisine; the latter one is made from black beans or soy beans. Before I only found fermented black beans produced in Guangdong. Recently I have noticed the famous Yongchuan (a place in Chongqing) brand fermented soy beans are available in Chinese Supermarkets ! Thanks to my homeland’s food industry’s flourishing development, we can enjoy more and authentic Chinese foods.
Since meat here is not butchered as same as in China, I usually use organic pork belly, with five layers. (It is hard for pork belly take a curly shape like an oil lamp.)
Garlic leaves are available in Philadelphia. The below picture shows how they look like. If you do not have garlic leaves at hand, you can use any color of sweet peppers, leeks, celery, or Napa cabbage leaves to substitute. If you like spicy foods, feel free to add hot peppers.
Here is the twice-cooked pork dish I usually make for friends and family. If I do not have sweet paste at hand, I use soy sauce and sugar instead. The shining green and red color, fat but not greasy texture will stimulate your appetite to eat more rice!
Ingredients for boiling
- 11 ounces pork belly (a whole bulk)
- Three pieces of one –inch ginger
- 20 Sichuan peppercorns
- 10 spring onions.
- Put all above in a wok, and add enough water to cover the meat. Simmer for 30 minutes after the water is boiling. If you cook more pork, it will take longer time. You can use a chopstick to poke from one side to other side. If you can not feel any resistance, it‘s cooked.
- Put the pork to cool down in the refrigerator for half hour to firm the flesh for easy slicing. In this way, the lean meat will not be separated from the fat.
Ingredients for Stir-frying:
- One tablespoon grape seed oil
- 1.5 tablespoons of chili bean paste, finely chopped
- Half a teaspoon of fermented black beans, finely chopped
- One tablespoon of Kikkoman soy sauce
- One teaspoon of sugar
- Half a pound garlic leaves, with the stalk removed first. Slice it diagonally with about two-inch length.
- Slice the pork belly as thin as possible.
- Heat one tablespoon grape seed oil in the wok.
- Stir fry the pork until you can see the fat start to shrink, usually about three to four minutes.
- Move the pork slices aside in the wok. Add chili bean paste and fermented soy beans to stir fry until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the Kikkoman soy sauce and sugar to stir fry for one minute.
- Add the garlic leaves to stir fry until almost cooked, for one minute.
- Transfer to a plate and serve hot with rice.
- Use the highest flame during the whole stir-frying.
- No salt is needed. All the sauces are salty.
- You can adjust the ratio between the meat and the side ingredient according to your preference.