Pork Shreds with Hoisin Sauce

Jiangbao Rousi

Preparation info

    Appears in

    Mrs. Chiang’s Szechwan Cookbook

    By Ellen Schrecker

    Published 1976

    • About

    Flavor: Reddish-Brown: Hoisin

    A jiangbao dish is one very quickly fried (the word bao literally means “explosively fried”) in hoisin sauce, that thick, dark brown paste, made out of sweetened wheat flour, which in Mandarin is called tianmian jiang. According to Mrs. Chiang, jiangbao is a fairly common way to cook chicken and shrimps, as well as meat, in Szechwan. It is not a hot dish; it is rich and sweet. The barely cooked, slightly crunchy scallions provide a much-needed contrast both in taste and texture to the heavy sauce and chewy, fibrous pork shreds. In some ways, this combination of scallions and hoisin sauce is reminiscent of northern Chinese food. Scallions and hoisin sauce are, after all, the standard accompaniment to Peking Duck. This dish is as easy to make as it is delicious, and should not take more than 20 minutes to prepare. The cooking itself takes only 5.

    Method

    Preparation

    5 medium pork chops (for a yield of 1-¼ pounds meat, approximately) Trim the fat and the bones off the pork chops, but reserve the fat from one of the chops. Slice the meat into slivers that are about the size and shape of wooden matchsticks, 2 inches long and ⅛ inch thick. (It is always easier to cut meat into fine slices if you first put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes, until it becomes slightly stiff, but not frozen.) Dice the reserved fat into pieces approximately the size of uncooked grains of rice. Keep the diced fat separate from the meat shreds.
    10 medium scallions Clean the scallions, then cut them, both green part and white, into 2-inch lengths. Slice these into shreds of about the same size as the meat slivers.

    (pork)

    1-⅓ tablespoons soy sauce

    1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine or cooking sherry

    1 teaspoon sesame oil

    1 egg white

    Add half of the shredded scallions to the meat slivers, along with the soy sauce, wine, sesame oil, and egg white. Mix everything together thoroughly.
    1-inch piece fresh ginger Peel the ginger and cut it into shreds about ⅛ inch wide, the width of a matchstick. Set aside.

    (meat mixture)

    1 tablespoon water

    Just before you are ready to begin cooking the meat, add the water and stir the mixture up.

    Cooking

    ½ cup peanut oil (ginger)

    (diced pork fat)

    Heat your wok or pan over a high flame for 15 seconds, then add the oil. The oil will be hot enough to cook with when the first tiny bubbles form and a few small wisps of smoke appear. When the oil is ready, throw in the shredded ginger and the diced pork fat. Stir-fry them together over a high heat for about 30 seconds, using your cooking shovel or spoon to agitate them around in the bottom of the pan so they don’t burn.
    2 tablespoons hoisin sauce Add the hoisin sauce and continue stir-frying the ingredients in the pan for another 15 seconds.

    (pork and marinade)

    (scallions)

    Now toss in the meat mixture and the rest of the shredded scallions. Stir-fry the meat for 3 more minutes. (You do not have to hover over the pan, stirring it continuously. Just scrape up the ingredients once in a while to make sure that all the pork is exposed to the hot oil and that nothing is sticking to the pan.) The meat will be completely cooked when it has stiffened slightly and turned a light grayish-brown color.
    1 tablespoon soy sauce Add the soy sauce, stir-fry for an additional 15 seconds, then remove from the heat.
    Salt, if necessary You will probably not need to add any salt, because there is plenty in the soy sauce. But you should taste the dish for salt just to make sure that the flavor is clear and bright.