Chinese Twice Cooked Pork

The basic core of this dish is twice cooked pork belly. It can be varied any way you fancy. Traditionally it is made with a spicy chilli red bean paste and is quite fiery. But any sort of stir-fry with sauce will work. It’s the core protein, the pork belly, that is at the heart of the dish. You need to start a few hours in advance to cook poach the pork and then chill it.
If I see a cheap piece of pork belly than I often buy it and do the first cook. I then portion it up into chunks (but not small slices) and freeze it. Then it just needs to be defrosted when you feel the need for a tasty stir-fry.
Quantities for two. This is a hoisin variant.

Ingredients

  • A piece of pork belly about 15cm long and 6cm wide
  • 2 Star anise
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 garlic clove finely sliced
  • 1 thumb sized piece of ginger peeled grated
  • 1–2 chilli chopped, seeds in or out, according to taste
  • 4 spring onions tidied and chopped into 6cm lengths
  • 2-3 bok choi pulled apart, bigger leaves halved (some tender stem broccoli would work fine here), or some cabbage
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 100-150ml chicken stock

Method

  1. Submerge the pork in a pot of cold water with one star anise and cinnamon stick. Bring it to the build and simmer gently for about 40 minutes. This is the first cooking of the pork.
  2. Once cooked remove and allow the pork to cool, then place it into the fridge to chill. (you could freeze it at this stage to have some ready when needed.)
  3. Once chilled remove and cut off the rind carefully with a sharp knife. Then slice the pork belly into 3mm slices.
  4. Heat enough oil to deep fry the pork belly in a wok, about 2-3cm will do. Fry the meat in batches and keep the cooked pieces in a warm bowl with some kitchen roll to absorb excess fat that drains.
  5. When the pork is cooked drain out most of the fat leaving just enough to stir fry the rest of the dish.
  6. Cook the garlic, chill and ginger for up to 1 minute in the hot oil, but don’t burn it.
  7. Add the spring onions and bok choi, frying them for 1-2 minutes.
  8. Add the cooked noodles soy sauce and hoisin for 30 seconds or so then add enough stock to make a sauce, you may not need too much. It should only need a minute or so to be ready.
  9. At the end add back the pork and serve.
Serve with some steamed or boiled rice. I use Jasmine rice.
Could also be served with some egg noodles.

Chicken Chow Mein

Chicken chow mein is a lovely noodle dish that is really simple and quick to do. Easiest with a wok. This will probably do two people just flex the quantities to your preferred portion size.

Ingredients

  • 150g dried thin/medium egg noodles as preferred
  • dash toasted sesame oil
  • 300g skinless chicken breast fillets, sliced into strips about 6-8mm thick
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce (for marinade)
  • 1 tsp five-spice powder
  • 1 tsp chilli sauce (optional, I usually use sriracha)
  • 2-3 tbsp cornflour
  • 1-2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • Some tender stem broccoli or bok choi as a stir-fried green
  • 150g (more or less to taste) bean sprouts
  • 1 spring onion, sliced lengthways
  • 2 tbsp Oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Put the chicken in a bowl to marinade with the soy sauce, five-spice and chilli sauce,
  2. Cook the noodles. Usually, 5 minutes standing in some boiled water. Then drain and chill with cold water and drain thoroughly. Add a dash of sesame oil and mix to prevent them sticking together.
  3. Drain the marinated chicken. Put the cornflour in a large food bag and then drop in the chicken pieces. Shake and manipulate the bag to coat all the chicken pieces. Then lift them out to a plate shaking off the loose flour.
  4. Have all your other ingredient looked out and to hand as this is where you start cooking. Heat enough oil to fry the chicken, you may need to do this in a couple of batches. Cook all the chicken till it is cooked and has a bit of colour, and put it in a warm holding oven when cooked.
  5. Pour out the oil and wipe the wok clean.
  6. Now heat a splash more oil. And add the broccoli or bok choi, cooking this till mostly done.
  7. Add the spring onion and the bean sprouts, cooking these quickly
  8. Now add the cold noodles and the oyster and soy sauce
  9. Cook these for a couple of minutes until the whole thing is steaming hot
Serve the chicken chow mein in warm bowls with the chicken scattered on top and a twist of pepper. Add an extra splash of soy or a hot chilli sauce if you like.

Variations

Obviously, you can alter and amend this in countless ways. The meat can be varied, it could even be prawns. Also, the vegetables can be flexed in type and quantity. Personally, I like green vegetables but you could add carrot shreds, or you could try some mushroom. Go for it.