The day Chef made this dish, the assistants at the culinary school were lining up to get the extras. The pork is wonderfully tender and unbelievably rich. Chef explained that he and his father, also a chef, have an ongoing dispute about whether the dish is better when made with streaky pork belly or with pork rump. The dispute is good-hearted and Chef actually had us made the dish with both types of meat so we could decide on our own. They were both so delicious I couldn’t determine which I preferred!

It is a common dish in Sichuan restaurants, and is best when served hot off the steamer.

  • Streaky pork belly with skin or pork rump (125 g)
  • Fresh peas (more traditional), potatoes or sweet potatoes (70 g)
  • Rice flour, coarse (25 g)*
  • Chili bean paste (15 g)*
  • Juice of fermented tofu (3 g)
  • Soy sauce (4 g)*
  • Cooking wine (2 g)*
  • Salt (.5 g)*
  • Ginger (1 g)
  • Scallions (1 g)
  • Sichuan peppercorns (.5 g)*
  • Juice of fermented glutinous rice (3 g)
  • Caramel (15 g)
  • Oil
  • Stock (50 g)
  • Gourmet powder (1 g)*

*Amounts are approximate.

Preparation:

  1. Slice pork against the grain into thin slices (about 3 mm).
  2. Cut ginger into small grains.
  3. Finely chop scallion. Place in a pile on the cutting board.
  4. Place Sichuan peppercorns on top of scallion pile. Pour a small about of stock over peppercorns to soften. Mince scallions and peppercorns together into a smooth paste. (Alternatively use a blender.)
  5. Mince chili paste.
  6. Cut potato or sweet potato into large chunks Stir in salt and gourmet powder.

Marinade/Sauce:

  1. Season wok.
  2. Stir fry chili paste in cold oil until red and fragrant.
  3. Remove to a bowl and combine with scallion/peppercorn paste.
  4. Make caramel:
    1. Add a little oil (just enough to coat wok).
    2. Add sugar. Stir constantly until sugar is browned and the texture of honey. (There should be a few small bubbles around the edge of the wok).
    3. Add stock.
  5. Add caramel to chili paste along with ginger.
  6. Add soy sauce, cooking wine, gourmet powder and optional ground Sichuan peppercorn.
  7. Pour over pork and stir well. Add juice from fermented rice and tofu as well as stock if needed. (The marinade should be reddish brown and wet. Taste and adjust as needed.)
  8. Marinate for at least 15 minutes.
  9. After marinating, add rice flour and stir to coat evenly. The rice flour should cover each slice of pork but shouldn’t be too dry. Add more stock if needed.

Cooking:

  1. Lay pork in bottom of steaming bowls like “the edges of a book.” Bowls should be porous, ideally made of clay.
  2. Place potatoes over pork.
  3. Steam for about 1 hour.
  4. Remove from steamer.
  5. Flip bowl onto plate so that pork is on top. Serve immediately.

Alternative: Beef can be substituted for pork. If using beef, sweet potato is the best vegetable. Steam for about 30 minutes.

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