Garlic and pork are two very familiar items in Chinese cuisine. Mainly for geographic reasons, pork is the ‘red meat’ of Chinese cookery. The lack of grazing land and pastures make raising beef on a large scale impossible. Garlic is one of the three main spices (with ginger and soy sauce) in Chinese cuisine. And the two ingredients go so well together, with the garlic nicely enhancing the fine qualities of the pork.
The black beans in this recipe are also important, giving the dish its trademark salty pungency. It is altogether very much a southern Chinese concoction, balancing crisp, clean, distinct flavours. My mother often made this dish and it has always been a favourite of mine. She would vary the taste once in a while by adding a dash of spicy chilli bean sauce.
An easy dish to make in the wok, it goes perfectly with plain rice and any stir-fried vegetable.
Cut the pork into thin slices
Heat a wok or large frying-pan until it is hot. Add half the oil and, when it is very hot and almost smoking, lift the pork out of the marinade with a slotted spoon, put it in the wok and quickly stir-fry for about 2-3 minutes. Drain well.
Wipe the wok clean, re-heat it and add the rest of the oil. Then quickly add the garlic, spring onions and chilli bean sauce. A few seconds later add the rest of the ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil and then return the pork to the wok or pan. Stir-fry the entire mixture for another 5 minutes. Turn it on to a warm platter and serve at once.
© 1996 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.