Adapted from CHICHI’S CHINESE
When we lived in Chengdu, Sichuan, this was one of my favorite dishes. My Chinese friends would ask, “Why do you want to order THAT? It’s a peasant’s dish!” One of my first culture shocks in China was when one of my students proudly announced, “My father was a peasant. My mother was a peasant. I am a worker.” Because there are no peasants in America, we tend to forget that many other countries still have them.
One thing that I have learned since that time is that it is not just twice cooked pork that I like, but the way that dish was prepared by the old cook at the Panda House Restaurant. Many of the recipes that I have found, since I came back from China, call for fatty pork belly and cabbage. The cook at the Panda House used a very lean cut of pork and lots of green onions. The other recipes are nice, but his was spectacular.
This is a dish to make for a weekday meal when you have leftover roast pork. There is little prep and it cooks very quickly. The pork I used was some Cuban roast pork that had a good bit of cinnamon and that added an interesting note to the flavor. I have added some to this recipe as a secret ingredient. If you do not have leftover pork, you may boil some pork until just cooked and then chill and slice it.
The sweet bean paste (tian mi jiang) may be hard to find, but it is essential to the authentic Sichuan dish. I could not find it at Marina Market, which is sort of a pan-ethnic store. I had to go to Lion Market, which caters to a more Chinese/Vietnamese clientele, and even they had only one brand available.
Karl’s Twice Cooked Pork
1 lb. slow roasted pork shoulder
12 green onions or 2 leeks
2 Tbs. peanut oil
2 Tbs. chili bean paste
2 Tbs. sweet bean paste
1 Tbs. fermented black beans, rinsed and crushed slightly
1 Tbs. ginger, minced
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1. Remove any large chunks of fat and slice the pork into thin bite sized pieces.
2. Trim and slice the green onions or leeks on the bias into two inch pieces.
3. Put the oil in your skillet and measure the rest of the ingredients into a small bowl and set it near to hand while you are cooking.
4. Heat the oil in a skillet or wok over medium-high heat until shimmering.
5. Add the slices of pork and stir-fry until the meat is brown and somewhat crisp, about two minutes.
6. Push the pork to one side of the wok and add the green onions or leeks and stir-fry until they are just cooked.
7. Pull the meat and vegetables to the edges of the pan and pour the contents of the sauce bowl into empty spot the center. Stir-fry briefly to blend the ingredients and then toss the meat and vegetables to coat them with the sauce.
8. Serve immediately with pan fried noodles or steamed rice.