I’m officially on my ‘National Holiday Week’ at school and I have a few culinary goals. I’m a list writer most of the time, so without getting too lengthy:
- Discover some Sichuan cooking recipes. This means oil infused with Sichuan peppercorns, twice cooked pork, cowpea sauerkraut and using broad bean paste in ways I might not have expected.
- Cook for midday. This is just to see if my photography changes at all. Natural light is the best when working with food-no shiny surfaces, food that comes out looking…like it looks it real life.
- Learn how to use my wok.
Well, I decided not to wait. I went down to the mini-mart across the street, managed to find some cooking wine and scuttled back up to my apartment to try my hand at three different dishes.
My very Chinese recipe might not have even made it here if it weren’t for my complete lack of being able to read directions. I’m started to get pretty good at recording my changes at least, so I ended up with something that probably does not resemble the original ‘Dry Fried Beef’ recipe that I found when I googled ‘Sichuan cooking recipes’ earlier that day.
If I understand correctly, dry frying should take a bit longer than what I did and the final product should not include any sauce-like accompaniment. Dry frying is a way to make your protein or your vegetable flavor extra intense. You cook it in oil before you add anything else, then remove it from the heat until the last 15 seconds. It’s not time consuming in the least because from the time your protein has fried in the oil the first time, everything comes together in about 5 minutes. Your ultimate goal is to get the meat back in and out without drying it out. The end product is supposedly slightly crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.
I added too much sauce to my second phase, and my meat was tender and juicy, but it was no longer crispy. That was okay though, because I can see where I went wrong, and I have a new recipe in my index.
You might never get served this dish if you head off to China, but it was super easy to throw together, it used fully Chinese ingredients and my husband and son both had seconds.
-3 medium slices of pork
-1-2 small onions, cut into rings
-2 small banana peppers, cut into rings
-1 clove of garlic
-½ cup peanut oil (or canola if you don’t have peanut)
-1 tsp chicken bouillon (maybe ½ cube?)
-1 tsp salt
-2 tsp. sugar
-2 tsp. broad bean past
-2 Tbs soy sauce
-1 1/2 Tbs rice wine vinegar
-2 Tbs cooking wine
-¼ cup water+3 tsp corn starch
- Cut pork into thin slices. Cut against the grain-this will reduce chewiness as a result of frying the meat.
- Put oil and meat into the wok and heat on medium high. Stir frequently so the meat is cooked evenly. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until meat starts to get crispy on the outside. Because it is pork, you will start to see little golden brown edges. Turn off heat.
- Drain the grease and set the pork in a bowl with 1 Tbs soy sauce and 1Tbs vinegar.
- Mix the rest of the ingredients (not veggies) and stir.
- Now you can start the burner again, with 1 Tbs. of oil from before. Add garlic, onions and peppers (any other aromatics you have on hand) and cook for 3à seconds. Then add the sauce and cook until the water starts to evaporate.
- Add the pork back in.
- Then Add the water/cornstarch mix while giving the meat mixture a good stir and turn the heat off.
- You should end up with lightly glazed meat, with almost no sauce.
Notes: You could add some scallions or cilantro if you wanted to make the dish ‘pop’ visually. I didn’t have any, which was one reason I added red onions and green peppers to my dish.