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Photo by: Georgia Glynn Smith
This is one of the most popular of all Hunan dishes, and you’ll find it in almost every restaurant and every home, yet it is rarely included in cooking books. I have recorded many versions of it; in the beautiful village of Zhangguying, where the scent and sizzle of its stir-frying drifted out into an ancient courtyard; in my friend Fan Qun’s family home in the countryside, when we ate it for dinner on New Year’s Eve; and in restaurants all over the province. The following recipe draws, I hope, on the best of each of them.
I’ve used the long, only mildly hot peppers known as Italian frying peppers, but ordinary bell peppers, cut into squares, can be used as a substitute. Use a mixture of red and green peppers if you like.
1. Cut off and discard the stems of the peppers, and slice at a steep angle into 1 ¼-inch chunks. (Don’t worry about the seeds – this is a peasant dish!) Cut the pork belly and the lean pork into fairly thin slices; set aside the pork belly. Add the Shaoxing wine and the soy sauces to the lean pork and mix well; set side.
2. Smear the wok with a little oil or lard and heat over a medium flame. Add the peppers and stir-fry, pressing them against the side of the wok with your wok scoop or ladle, for about 5 minutes, until they are fragrant and tender and their skins a little golden and puckered. Remove the peppers from the wok and set aside.
3. Remove any pepper seeds from the wok, and reheat the wok over a hot flame until smoke rises, then add 2 tablespoons of the oil or lard and swirl around. Add the pork belly and stir-fry until the slices are tinged with gold.
4. Toss in the garlic and black beans and stir-fry briefly until fragrant, and then add the lean pork. When the pork has almost changed color and lost most of its water content, return the peppers to the wok and continue to stir-fry for another minute or so, adding salt to taste.
5. If using the potato-flour mixture to add a professional gloss, give the mixture a stir and tip it into the wok at the final stage, stirring just long enough for the sauce to cling to the meat.
Nutrients per serving (% daily value)
Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving.
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