Szechuan-Style Pork

Szechuan is among my favourite food regions of China. I love the lusty flavours of the spices and diversity of its cuisine. Many of the best dishes are the home-cooked ones. These utilize simple ingredients to make a delicious meal.

Here pork is stir-fried with Szechuan preserved vegetables for a robust, tasty dish that is quite easy to prepare. In the wok, it literally takes minutes. The key to success in this recipe is not to overcook the pork. You can buy the preserved vegetables in Chinese grocers or delicatessens.

Ingredients

  • 450 g (1 lb) lean, boneless pork
  • 50 g (2 oz) beanthread (transparent) noodles
  • tablespoons groundnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh root ginger
  • 4 tablespoons Szechuan preserved vegetables, rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) Chicken Stock or water

For the Marinade

  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour

Method

Cut the pork into thin slices 5 cm (2 in) long. Put the sliced pork into a bowl and mix in the Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry, soy sauce, sesame oil and cornflour. Let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes so that the pork absorbs the flavours of the marinade.

Soak the noodles in a large bowl of warm water for 15 minutes. When soft, drain and discard the water. Cut into 7.5-cm (3-in) lengths using scissors or a knife.

Heat a wok or frying-pan to a very high heat. Add the oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, add the pork slices and stir-fry them until they are brown. Add the garlic, ginger and Szechuan vegetables. Add the beanthread noodles, soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry, sugar and stock and continue to stir-fry until the pork is cooked and slightly firm. This should take about 5 minutes. Remove and arrange the pork, noodles and vegetables on a warm serving platter. Pour any juices remaining in the wok over the pork and serve at once.

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