Hunanese Farmhouse Pork with Green Peppers
Adapted from Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan Province by Fuschia Dunlop (W.W. Norton, 2006)
Chinese food can be many things; after all, it's an enormous country with a wide variety of cultures and traditions. This recipe comes from Hunan province, and is the sort of everyday dish eaten all over. Like so many dishes that everyone seems to know, there are almost as many versions as there are cooks; it's also the sort of dish that rarely appears in recipe books, because everyone in Hunan already knows how to make it!
- 2 or 3 green bell peppers, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 oz. pork belly or thickly sliced bacon
- 8 oz. lean pork
- 1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine (or medium-dry sherry)
- 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 teaspoons fermented black beans, rinsed
- About 3 tablespoons lard or peanut oil, for cooking
- ½ teaspoon potato flour or cornstarch, mixed with 2 tablespoons water (optional)
- Salt, to taste
- Cut the pork belly and lean pork into thin slices. Set the pork belly aside. Mix the lean pork with the Shaoxing wine and soy sauces, and allow to rest.
- Place a wok or large skillet over medium heat, and add a little lard or peanut oil. Stir-fry the peppers, occasionally pressing them against the side of the wok, until they are tender and the skins puckered, about 5 minutes. Remove the peppers from the wok.
- Raise the heat to high, and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Cook the pork belly until the slices are starting to turn golden. Add the garlic and black beans, stir-frying until they become fragrant, then add the lean pork. When the pork is almost fully cooked, return the peppers to the wok and stir-fry another minute to heat through.
- If you would like a thick, glossy sauce, add the potato flour mixture to the wok at the last minute, stirring just until everything is coated. Serve immediately.