Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Chungking Pork

I take cooking classes at the kitchen store in the college town about 25 miles away. I like going to the classes for different cuisines. One of the first cooking classes I went to years ago was by Helen Chen who is the daughter of late restaurateur Joyce Chen. Helen, like her mother, has her own line of Asian products, Helen's Asian Kitchen. I have her large wok and it works great.

I really enjoyed her class, not only was I finally able to cook Chinese food that tasted like Chinese food, but I learned a lot about the reason the Chinese eat like they do. Why they don't eat much beef, why they stir-fry and why they don't have ovens. It was most interesting. If you ever have the opportunity to see Helen Chen in person, do it.

I am fortunate that the college close to us has a huge Asian population. So there is a great Asian market close by. This recipe is adapted from Helen's Chen's Chinese Home Cooking. There is a chapter in the beginning that's all about ingredients and gives good recommendations of what brand to buy if you're close to an Asian market. There is quite a difference between the products you buy there and what you get from an American grocery store. The dark soy sauce is thicker and richer, the hoisin sauce is not as sicky sweet. If you don't live near a market, there are sources on the Internet.
I'm just glad my Chinese food tastes better now.

Chungking Pork
adapted from Helen Chen's Chinese Home Cooking

1 lb. pork tenderloin
3 tsp. cream sherry or dry
4 tsp. cornstarch
2 tbls. fermented black beans, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, if you want it a little hotter add some Sriracha hot chili sauce
3 tbls. hoisin sauce
2 tbls. dark soy sauce
4 tbls canola oil
1/2 small head cabbage, about 4 cups cut into 1 1/2" chunks
1 medium red bell pepper cut into 1 1/2" chunks
4 slices unpeeled ginger root, 1 x 1/8" each
3 cloves garlic, sliced

Slice the tenderloin crosswise 1/8" thick. You can freeze briefly to firm up and make it easier to slice. Place in a bowl, stir in sherry and 2 rounded tsp. of cornstarch and mix well so all pork is coated. Set aside. Dissolve remaining cornstarch in 1/3 cup water.

Stir the black beans and crushed red pepper together in a small bowl and set aside. Combine the soy sauce and hoisin sauce in another small bowl and set aside.

Heat 2 tbls. of the oil in a wok or stir-fry pan over high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the cabbage; it should sizzle. Stir-fry for about 3 minutes. Add the peppers and cook for 2 minutes. The cabbage may brown slightly. Remove the vegetables to a plate.

Pour the remaining 2 tbls. oil into the same pan and place over high heat. Add the ginger root and garlic and stir around the pan until they become fragrant and begin to sizzle. Do not brown. Mix the pork up again and add to the pan, stirring briskly, until the meat is no longer pink, about 2 or 3 minutes.

Stir in the black bean mixture, stir around a few times, add the sauce mixture, and stir a few time to mix. Return the vegetables to the pan, stir, then ad the cornstarch slurry, and stir for 30 seconds. Discard the ginger root.

Happy eating,

1 comment:

Aunt said...

I just purchased Helen Chen's book, and this is the first recipe I'm going to try. I'm teaching myself to cook, and I thought I'd start with asian. First I had to overcome my fear of hot oil combustion. I'll let you know how it comes out.