I’ve been in a bit of a rut. Since I started writing these blog posts about cooking at home, I seem to keep harking back to either Fuchsia Dunlop’s “Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook” or “
Most searches turn up the same results, either Dunlop’s first cookbook or a book called “Mrs. Chiang’s Szechwan Cookbook”. Originally published in 1976, “Mrs. Chiang’s Szechwan Cookbook” seems to be one of the first English language introductions to the cuisine. I’ve had this book for a few months and I’ve cooked a few simple recipes out of it, with sterling results. However, on Sunday afternoon, I was looking for a recipe with ground pork.
In the index there is an entire subsection of pork that lists recipes for ground pork. I originally thought that Mapo Doufu would be a great dinner but the only tofu I had was frozen. Instead I looked through the section of shredded pork recipes and found String Beans and Pork Shreds (Sijidou Chao Rousi). The recipe was perfect. I had pork chops in the freezer and string beans fresh from the garden.
After washing the beans and breaking off the ends, the recipe calls for the beans to be sliced into shreds.
Next in the ingredient list was 4 medium pork chops. The idea is to slice off the fat and shred the meat. Essentially you cut the meat into 2 inch long strips and then slice it horizontally.
At least that’s how I interpreted it.
With the pork and the pork fat sliced and chopped, it’s time to start marinating the pork.
First 4 scallions are cleaned, cut into 2 inch lengths, shredded, and then added to the pork.
Next was 1 tsp of granulated sugar.
1 tbs of cornstarch
Everything is mixed thoroughly.
With everything measured, I can now start cooking dinner.
First, my wok is put over high heat for 15 seconds and then 2 tbs of peanut oil is added. Once the first few wisps of smoke appear, the beans are added to the wok.
With the beans set aside, I wiped out the wok and reheated it for the next part of the recipe.
¼ cup of peanut oil is added to the wok and then all of the diced fat comes soon after.
The idea is render all of the pork fat and make the dish even tastier.
Now that the fat has mostly rendered, it’s time to add the sliced pork.
However, before I could add it to the wok, I had to add 1 tbs of water to the pork and mix thoroughly. I have no idea what this step is for. I figured there was plenty of moisture in the marinade already.
What you end up with is this:
Here we are. Served over white rice and in its natural environment, this dish is a study in simplicity and not at all what I expect from
In the preface, Ellen Schrecker writes that “This is the kind of plain meat and vegetable dish that Mrs. Chiang’s mother served her family for dinner almost every day.” I can see why. There’s not much prep work and it’s a quick dish to make. What you end up with is delicious string beans, crunchy rendered pork fat, and silky shredded pork. To me, this is a new side of