Fish-fragrant Shredded Pork鱼香肉丝yú xiāng ròu sī

The sauce for this classic Sichuan dish is called “yuxiang” in Chinese, which literally means ‘fish aroma’ . But do not be fooled by the name – there is no fish involved in the recipe at all. Most of the cookbooks say that it got this name because it’s often used when cooking fish, which it is not a bad explanation. But I’ve found that the traditional recipe for yuxiang included chilies fermented with crucian carp, which gave the sauce a deep, anchovy-like flavor; hence perhaps, the name.

I emphasize using pickled chilies, which can be easily prepared at home (click here for recipe) or purchase it in the Asian market. They have a purity of flavor that is hard to beat.

Serves 3-4,

  • 2 tablespoons                                    dried ear mushrooms (after rehydration)水发后的黑木耳, roughly chopped
  • 450g/1 pound                                   pork tenderloin, shredded/thinly sliced猪里脊肉切丝
  • 3 +2 tablespoons                              cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon                                      Sichuan fermented bean paste豆瓣酱
  • 3 to 4 medium-size pickled peppers and 1 inch of pickled ginger, or replace pickled pepper and ginger with fresh long red peppers, 泡椒/姜 (click here for homemade recipe)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 spring onions (white parts only), minced. Save minced green for garnishing
  • 1 inch, ginger, minced
  • 1 fresh red pepper                           thinly sliced
  • 2 fresh green peppers    thinly sliced
  • 1 piece                                                  Bamboo shoots, sliced (optional)

Marinade Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon                      corn flour生粉
  • 1/2 teaspoon                     salt
  • 1 tablespoon                      Chinese cooking wine 

Seasoning sauce

  • 1 tablespoon                       corn生粉 flour
  • 1 and half tablespoons      caster sugar白糖
  • 1 and half tablespoons     Chinkiang vinegar镇江香醋
  • 1 tablespoon                        light soy sauce生抽
  • 2 tablespoons                      Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 teaspoon                            sesame oil

Method

  1. If you use dried ear mushroom, please soak the dried ear mushrooms with clean water for 20 minutes.

2. Shred the pork tenderloin and then marinade with salt, cooking wine and scorn flour. Mix well and set aside.

3. Shred the black ear mushrooms, peppers and bamboo shoots into in similar sizes.

4. Prepare another bowl, add all the ingredients for seasoning sauce; mix well and set aside.

5. Heat up 3 tablespoons of oil in a wok; add shredded pork to stir-fry until the pork become white from pink. Move shredded pork out of the wok.

6. Place 2 tablespoons of oil in wok; add 1 tablespoon of fermented bean paste. Fry for 2 minutes till aromatic. Add into sliced pickled ginger and fry for 1 minute. Add garlic, ginger and green onion (white part) to stir fry for the aroma. Add into sliced peppers bamboo shoots and ear mushrooms; and return the pork shreds.

7. Add seasoning sauce and do some stir-fry until the sauce is evenly coated on the ingredients.

8. Move out from the wok and garnish some green part of the spring onions.

9. Enjoy the dish with a bowl of hot white rice.

Tips

Since doubanjiang (fermented bean paste), pickled peppers and soy sauce contain salt. So you may need just a little or none of the salt at all in this recipe.

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