My day job (and also my fiancé’s) is teaching English, and we have taught numerous times now a class that prepares students for college-level writing, usually populated with our large Chinese contingent at the university. My fiancé had the brilliant idea of offering extra credit in exchange for his students offering up recipes from their families back in their native China. This is an adaptation of a recipe contributed by his student Boyan Wei, and we’re so glad we got our hands on it. While this recipe is amazing with pork belly—spicy, nuanced, with tender meat and vegetables—and my new favorite way to eat it is with tripe. Regardless of the protein you choose, this makes for a fabulous and authentic taste of Sichuan.
- 2 lbs. pork belly* (remove any skin, but do not slice up the actual meat yet)
- 3 green peppers, sliced into thin 3” slices
- ~16 dry red chilies (heaven-facing chilies)
- 1 onion
- 6 green onions, cut into 2” segments on bias
- ~6 slices of ginger
- ½ cup Xiao Shing cooking wine, plus about 1 TBSP.
- ~ 2 tsp. sugar, to taste
- 2 TBSP. neutral oil
- ½ tsp. Sichuan peppercorns (seriously, order them online if you must—they make the dish and have a kind of zing that’s different from other kinds of spices)
- 5 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup doubanjiang (Chinese fermented bean sauce)
Add pork belly to a pot and cover with cold water. Add ½ cup cooking wine, green onion, garlic cloves, and ginger. Bring to a boil and boil for about 6 minutes,* or until a chopstick easily pierces the meat (the time this takes may vary depending on the way the pork belly your purchase is cut). Remove the meat and place in cold water for a few minutes to cool. (According to the author of the original recipe, this step functions to remove the smell of meat.)
After the meat is cool, cut meat into ¼” slices, and slice the garlic.
Heat a pan or wok on high heat, and then add a little oil, dry chilies, peppercorns, onion, green pepper, and ginger. Stir-fry for a minute until you smell the garlic and pepper.
Put the meat slices into the pan, stir-frying until they turn white and the edges are slightly rolled.
Push the meat and vegetables to the side to make a hole in the middle of the pan. Add the doubanjiang to the pan to cook until the red oil is rendered and then stir.
Add a little bit of cooking wine and sugar to taste. Stir-fry for a few more seconds and serve.
* If using tripe instead of the pork belly, bring to a boil, cover and cook for about 30 minutes, or until tender and easily pierced with a fork, making sure it remains at the barest simmer possible. If you’re working with a tripe other than honeycomb, you may need to simmer it for as much as an hour and forty-five minutes to get it tender. After simmering the tripe, follow the same steps as you would for the pork.