Monday, April 26, 2010

Pork slivers with sweet fermented paste (jing jiang rou si)

I know, its name is so appealing. But that's the translation Fuchsia Dunlop gives to this rustic Sichuanese stir-fry, which turned out so pleasantly mild that I'll cook it up next time we host chilliphobes. The key ingredient is sweet bean paste, found in the mysterious jar aisle of any Chinese grocery.

1. Cut 12 ounces of boneless pork loin into thin slices and then into long, thin slivers, ideally about 1/8 thick. Place in a bowl with 2 tsp. cornstarch, 2 tsp. cold water, and 1 tsp. Shaoxing rice wine and stir in one direction to combine.

2. Cut the whites of 4 scallions into 4-inch sections and then lengthwise into fine slivers. Dilute 5 tsp. Sichuanese sweet bean paste with 1 T. of water to give it a runny consistency.

3. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 tsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. soy sauce and 2 T. chicken stock.

4. Heat 1/4 cup peanut oil over high, swirl in a bit of oil, and stir-fry the pork briskly. After a minute or two, when the slivers have separated and are becoming pale, push them to one side of the wok and let the oil run to the other side. Place the sweet bean paste in the space you have created and stir-fry for 10-20 seconds. Then tilt the wok back to normal, mix the paste with the pork slivers, and add the soy sauce mix. Stir well, turn onto a serving plate, and garnish with the scallion slivers.

John and I are off to Portland, OR tomorrow, so watch this space for our yummiest finds.

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