Black Beans, Green Peppers, and Pork Shreds

Heidouchi Qingjiao Chao Rousi

Preparation info

    Appears in

    Mrs. Chiang’s Szechwan Cookbook

    By Ellen Schrecker

    Published 1976

    • About

    Flavor: Unique

    Dried, salted black beans entered Szechwan from the outside, probably either from Canton or Hunan. Because they were not indigenous, Mrs. Chiang’s mother rarely cooked with them, though when she did the results were always delicious. She used them mainly in simple stir-fried dishes, for the black beans have such a strong and complicated flavor that they dominate any dish to which they are added. They also have an affinity for hot foods, a combination any good Szechwanese cook would be bound to exploit. Mrs. Chiang uses them to add an unusual new dimension to an otherwise ordinary dish of green peppers and pork shreds. The pleasantly salty-sour flavor of the beans sets off the fresh hotness of the long green peppers in a particularly delicious way. Though you can make this recipe using the regular green peppers, once you have tried it with the hot ones, any other way of making it will seem too bland. Because this dish is supposed to stimulate your visual and tactile senses as much as your taste buds, don’t overcook the peppers; they should be crisp and bright green. If you can’t find hot green peppers, use the regular peppers, but add ½ teaspoon of hot pepper flakes to the dish.

    Method

    Preparation

    ¾ cup dried salted black beans Rinse the black beans thoroughly under cold water for 1 minute. Put them in a small bowl and set them aside.
    3 medium pork chops (for a yield of ¾ pound meat, approximately) 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.)
    2 scallions 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.

    (pork)

    1 teaspoon sesame oil

    2 tablespoons soy sauce

    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.
    4 hot green peppers, each 3 inches long, or 2 green peppers Slice the peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds, then cut them into shreds approximately the same size as the pork.
    4 cloves garlic Smash the garlic cloves with the side of your cleaver, then peel. Chop the garlic rather coarsely, into pieces about the size of peppercorns.

    Cooking

    1 tablespoon peanut oil 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.
    (green peppers) 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.
    ½ teaspoon salt 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.

    3 tablespoons peanut oil

    (garlic)

    (black beans)

    1 teaspoon granulated sugar

    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.

    (meat mixture)

    (peppers)

    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

    2 tablespoons water, approximately (optional)

    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.