Dried, salted black beans entered Szechwan from the outside, probably either from Canton or Hunan. Because they were not indigenous, Mrs.
Rinse the black beans thoroughly under cold water for 1 minute. Put them in a small bowl and set them aside.
Cut the fat and the bone away from the pork chops, then slice the lean meat into shreds about 3 inches long and 1/5 inch wide, the width of a wooden matchstick. (It is easier to slice meat very fine if you first put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes, until it becomes slightly stiff, but not frozen.)
Clean the scallions, then cut them, both the green part and white, into 3-inch lengths. Slice these into shreds approximately the same size as the meat shreds.
Put the shredded scallions on a plate with the sliced pork. Add the sesame oil and soy sauce and mix thoroughly. Set aside to marinate until you are ready to begin cooking.
Slice the peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds, then cut them into shreds approximately the same size as the pork.
Smash the garlic cloves with the side of your cleaver, then peel. Chop the garlic rather coarsely, into pieces about the size of peppercorns.
(garlic) (black beans) (meat mixture) (peppers) Salt, if necessary Just before you are ready to serve the dish, taste it. You probably won’t have to add any salt, because the black beans are extremely salty. In fact, the dish may be too salty for your taste. If that is the case, just add a few tablespoonfuls of water and stir thoroughly. Then serve.
Heat your wok or pan over a hot flame for 15 seconds, then add the oil. It will be ready to cook with when the first tiny bubbles form and a few small wisps of smoke appear.
As soon as the oil is ready, throw in the green pepper slices. Stir-fry them vigorously for 30 seconds, using your cooking shovel or spoon in a scooping motion to toss the pepper shreds around in the pan so every piece is exposed to the hot oil.
Add the salt and continue to cook the pepper shreds for about 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until they have become slightly limp. Then remove the peppers from the pan.
Reheat the wok or pan and pour in the fresh oil. When it seems hot enough to cook with, throw in the chopped garlic and stir-fry vigorously for 15 seconds. Quickly add the black beans and the sugar and stir-fry them for 1 minute.
Now add the meat mixture and the partially cooked peppers. Stir-fry for 3 more minutes, until the pork has lost all of its pinkish color and is thoroughly cooked.
Salt, if necessary
Just before you are ready to serve the dish, taste it. You probably won’t have to add any salt, because the black beans are extremely salty. In fact, the dish may be too salty for your taste. If that is the case, just add a few tablespoonfuls of water and stir thoroughly.
© 1976 Ellen Schrecker. All rights reserved.