I won’t lie: when I have a hangover I crave this chilli-laden pork dish from my local Chinese takeaway. Despite years of trying to coax the recipe out of the very shouty waitress, I haven’t really gotten a bean out of her as to what’s in it. Most likely a truckload of MSG and triple frying. I took my best shot at deciphering the components and came up with this stir-fried rendition. No deep-frying and no tummy ache later.
Thinly slice the pork against the grain and put it in a shallow dish. Place the sichuan peppercorns, fennel and cumin seeds in a small frying pan over medium heat and dry-fry for 1 minute or until fragrant. Cool slightly, then finely grind in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Add the chilli flakes and sea salt, then sprinkle the spice mixture on both sides of the pork. Dust the pork with the cornflour on both sides.
Heat 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium heat. Add the chilli, garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes until golden and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Add a little more oil to the pan and cook the pork in small batches for 1 minute or until browned on both sides, adding a little extra oil for each batch. Set the pork aside, then add the remaining oil to the pan. Add the onion and cook over high heat for 2-3 minutes or until just soft. Return the pork to the pan with the chilli and garlic mixture, soy sauce, shaoxing rice wine and chilli paste and toss until heated through. Serve with steamed rice on the side.
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