Friday, 22 April 2011

Farmhouse stir-fried pork with green peppers (nong jia chao rou)

So I mentioned I believe that I'm a big fan of Fuschia Dunlop and have recently been cooking from her Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook.

My next foray, after Dong'an Chicken has been Nong Jia Chao Rou, or Farmhouse stir-fried pork with green peppers.  Strangely, as one of the things that I like about both Sichuan and Hunan cookery is the regions' exuberant use of chillis, those Hunan recipes that I have tried from the book so far have been extremely mild on the hot and spicy front and this was no exception.

Apparently this is one of the most popular dishes in Hunan cuisine, found in almost every home and restaurant in the province and yet rarely included in cookery books.  Which  of course is where Ms. Dunlop comes up trumps yet again - bringing to life a dish from a vibrant regional cuisine that would otherwise be little known to us.

I'm not sure what the green peppers used in China would be like but Fuschia suggests using the long, light green, mildly hot peppers found in Turkish or Greek supermarkets which luckily is exactly what I have access to here in my North London kitchen.

The recipe that follows is taken (with a few minor changes) from Revolutionary Chines Cookbook ..again, I strongly suggest buying a copy.

Farmhouse Stir-fried Pork with Green Peppers

250g long light green (thin skinned) peppers, stem discarded then sliced at an angle into 3cm chunks
50g streaky bacon, thinly sliced
200g lean pork, thinly sliced
1 tsp Shaoxing wine
1 tsp light soy sauce
½ tsp dark soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tsp black fermented (salted) black beans, rinsed
2 tbsp lard

Add the Shaoxing wine and soy sauces to the pork slices in a bowl and set aside to marinate briefly.

Wipe the wok with a little oil or lard and heat over a medium flame. Stir fry the peppers for a good 5-10 minutes, pressing the pepper pieces down with a wooden spoon occasionally. When tender and fragrant and skins starting to pucker set aside.

Reheat the wok (make sure that there aren't any pepper seeds left in the wok) over a high flame until it starts to smoke then add the lard and swirl it around the wok. Add the bacon and stir fry until starting to turn golden.

Add the garlic and black beans, stir fry briefly until fragrant then add the pork (and the marinade). When the pork is almost coooked, return the peppers and continue to stirfry for a couple of minutes until the pork is cooked through and it is all thoroughly mixed.

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