Strange-Taste Stir-Fried Eggs

The term ‘strange-taste’ is one I have often wondered about. It is of Szechuan origin and is regularly applied to fragrant Szechuan fish recipes. Given the rather warm climate and lack of refrigeration in the area, I wonder if something other than the cook’s imaginative use of seasonings may have generated the strange taste!

Be that as it may, the food is delicious and I am willing to accept the traditional explanation that it is popularly known as ‘strange-taste’ because it incorporates so many flavours, being hot, spicy, sour, sweet and salty all at the same time. Here the ingredients are used to enliven pork and combined with eggs to make a simple but delicious dish that goes superbly with rice.

Ingredients

  • 225 g (8 oz) minced pork
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons groundnut oil

For the Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese black rice vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons chilli bean sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon roasted Szechuan peppercorns
  • tablespoons finely chopped spring onions

For the Garnish

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onion tops

Method

Combine the pork with the light soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and the cornflour in a small bowl. In another small bowl, combine the eggs with the salt and remaining sesame oil.

Heat a wok until it is very hot and then add 1 tablespoon of the groundnut oil. When the oil is very hot and slightly smoking, add the pork and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the sauce ingredients and cook with the pork for 3 minutes. Remove the pork and sauce and set it aside.

Wipe the wok clean and re-heat it and, when it is hot, add the remaining oil. Immediately, add the eggs and stir-fry until they are barely set. Then return the pork and sauce to the eggs and mix well. Continue to stir-fry for 2 minutes. Transfer to a warm platter and serve at once, sprinkling the spring onion tops over to garnish.

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