The pig, last of the twelve creatures in the Chinese zodiac calendar, is first in the hearts and palates of its people. It is the “red meat” of China, and the only portion of the animal not utilised in some way is its oink. The pig is the symbol for fertility, virility, and good luck, and during a birthday banquet at the home of friends in Sichuan, we were served several pork dishes. (I should note that the pork portions were small compared to the vegetables, for meat never dominates, even when it is a favourite one.)
Here again was a treasured family recipe served up in an at-home celebration. All of the adults took turns preparing and cooking the various parts of the meal. In other areas of China, chillies are often used as a garnish or decoration; in Sichuan they are commonly used as a vegetable. In this case, the family’s own homemade pickled chillies were used, but I have substituted fresh mild chillies with very good results.
Cut the pork into thin slices, about
Cut the chillies in half and remove the seeds and slice them into thin shreds. With the flat side of the knife or cleaver, crush the onions and shred them.
Heat a wok or large frying pan until hot. Add the oil, then the garlic, ginger, chili flakes, and salt and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Then add the pork and continue to stir-fry for 1 minute. Now add the chillies and onions, stir-fry for 1 minute, and add the soy sauce, rice wine or sherry, vinegar, and sugar. Continue to stir-fry for 2 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated. Serve at once.
© 1990 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.