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Paul Winalski

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IOTM: Chinese Ground Pork with Chiles

by Paul Winalski » Thu Oct 05, 2006 11:56 pm

It's now October, but we don't have a new IOTM yet, so....

This recipe is from The Chinese Cookbook by Craig Claiborne and Virginia Lee. It's one of my favorites. It's sort of the Sichuan equivalent of a green chili con carne. Craig Claiborne remarks, "This is a recipe that is only for the genuine connoisseurs, those with the palate of Beelzebub, for it is fiery hot to the taste. This is a dish to make strong men cough, and Texans, unless they are of the proper ilk and enthusiasm, weep capsicum. Heed well this warning."

IMO it falls well behind several Thai dishes in the fire-and-brimstone department, but it's still a delightful sort of hot-chile-and-pork relish. It goes really well over rice. A mix of red and green chiles gives more delightful color, but you can use all green or all red.

I usually use the supermarket-variety long green peppers, but I've used both green and red serranos or jalapenos to good effect. Thai red or green bird peppers propel this dish over the threshold of pain, and habaneros would make it completely inedible in quantities over a tablespoonful or two.

Traditional Sichuan dishes tend to be on the oily side--hence the 1/4 cup of oil in this dish. Given how lean ground pork is these days, that's actually on the conservative side, if you're being traditional. If you want to cut down on the fat, though, you can reduce the oil until it's just enough to cook everything.

1/2 pound or more fresh red or green chiles (long hot peppers, jalapenos, serranos, etc.; bird chiles and habaneros would be way over the top). You want about 1 1/2 cups when minced fine.

1/4 cup peanut or other neutral vegetable oil

1 pound ground pork (not too lean preferable)

2 TBS dark soy sauce

2 1/2 tsp sugar (either white or brown)

1. Discard the stems from the chiles. Remove the seeds and white membrane. Mince finely, but not to the point of a puree--about the size that matches the grains of the ground pork.

2. Heat the oil in a wok to very hot. Add the ground pork and stir-fry until the grains separate and the pork has just lost its color (not so much it has browned).

3. Add the soy sauce. Sitr constantly 3-4 minutes over high heat.

4. Add the sugar and stir quickly until dissolved. Add the minced chiles and cook about 3 minutes.

Serve with lots of rice.

This keeps well and is good cold, too.
Last edited by Paul Winalski on Wed Oct 11, 2006 12:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Jenise

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Sichuan food

by Jenise » Fri Oct 06, 2006 4:28 pm

Paul, actually we do have a new IOTM: fresh wild mushrooms. I'll get the post up shortly.

But about this--YUM! And I'm glad you mentioned the oily quality of Sichuan cuisine, it was something I hadn't understood and wasn't prepared for when I visited there. But it was uniformly so, both in restaurants and on our boat. Not that they served Sichuan style food to the round eyes, but I'd frequently ask my server what the crew was eating (who were all from Chongqing, China's largest city, and as such a municipality that is almost a province unto itself on Sichuan province's eastern border) and get him to get me some of their food instead. One of my favorite such dishes was much like this recipe, except that added to the stir fried pork were strips of jicama. I've never had cooked jicama before, and it was a revelation.

Great recipe, thanks.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Cynthia Wenslow

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Re: Sichuan food

by Cynthia Wenslow » Thu Oct 12, 2006 9:14 pm

An Asian fusion kinda joint here in Santa Fe serves something very similar but in lettuce wraps as a starter. But it's not as hot.

This looks great. I will defintely try it.

Thanks!
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Paul Winalski

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Re: Sichuan food

by Paul Winalski » Thu Oct 12, 2006 11:37 pm

Cynthia Wenslow wrote:An Asian fusion kinda joint here in Santa Fe serves something very similar but in lettuce wraps as a starter. But it's not as hot.

This looks great. I will defintely try it.

Thanks!


The Cantonese have a very similar dish featuring minced pigeon and minced mild green chiles, stir-fried in rather copious amounts of oil, and served in lettuce leaf wrappers.

So the lettuce leaf wrappers are definitely within traditional parameters. I can see this going well in Vietnamese-style rice paper wrappers, too, perhaps drizzled with some roasted sesame seed oil, or premium oyster sauce, or Sriracha.

Lotsa possibilities here.

-Paul W.

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