Twice-cooked pork was my introduction to Sichuan cuisine in the late 1970s. I spent a summer working in Washington, DC for a federal government agency and the office was near Washington’s small Chinatown. I ate twice-cooked pork for the first time in one of those restaurants and it was great.
The normal way to do this is boil a piece of fatty pork first, and then to slice it and stir-fry it (the twice cooking), and that is what I will describe below. I had on hand some leftover grilled pork tenderloin from Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Green Peppercorn Sauce and so that is what I used. Two key ingredients are hot bean paste and sweet bean paste, which used to be easy to find in Chinese grocery stores but now do not seem to be sold under those labels. There are some close substitutes which can be used. This version is adapted from Martin Yan’s Chinatown Cooking and made 2 large or 3 more modest servings with steamed rice.
2 cups water
¾ lb. fatty pork (such as pork belly) in one piece
½ cup chicken broth
¼ cup rice wine, sake, or dry sherry
2 Tbs. sweet bean paste or Hoisin sauce
1 Tbs. soy sauce
½ Tbs. hot bean paste, or chili garlic sauce
2 tsp. sugar
3 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 green onions, sliced
2 quarter-sized pieces of ginger, peeled and sliced into thin strips
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and slice
¼ large head of Napa cabbage, cut into 1-inch strips (about 4 cups)
1 Tbs. cornstarch + 3 Tbs. water.
Put the pork in a medium saucepan and add the water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook about 10-15 minutes until the pork is no longer pink in the center. Drain the pork, cool, and thinly slice.
In a bowl mix together the chicken broth, rice wine, sweet bean paste, soy sauce, hot bean paste, and sugar.
Have all the vegetables prepped since like all stir-fries, the actual cooking time is brief.
In a large skillet heat the oil. When very hot, add the green onions, ginger, garlic, and jalapeno, and stir-fry until fragrant. About a minute. Add the sliced pork and cabbage and stir-fry until the cabbage begins to brown, about a minute. Add the sauce ingredients and reduce to a simmer and cook until the cabbage is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch and water, and stir until the sauce thickens. Serve with steamed rice.