Sliced pork with garlic chili purée, 蒜泥白肉

Okay, if you are making dinner for your date. I gonna ban you from making this dish. However, it's a tasty saladish for house parties or family dinner. 蒜泥白肉 is a popular cold dish in Szechuan cuisine. It's very pretty when dressed up with the screaming red chili garlicky oil against the cool green cucumber and fatty white belly, all with a touch of numbing sensation from the Szechuan peppers. Perfect for nibbling and go with drinks. One of my favorites.If you had tried this dish before, As if cooking oil is the cheapest commodities, like with most dishes in China, you find that it is usually soak in lots and LOTS of chili oil. Actually and maybe, back in the old days, meat doesn't come cheap, hence, oil is added as a fuel for the body to keep warm and feel full for a longer time especially during cold winter months. So, I guess, it's a habit why the Chinese use so much oil to cook. Here in my recipe, I've cut down a lot of the oil so that it's much lighter in mouthfeel since there's already the belly fat but still not compromising on the flavor. 

500g Pork belly
Knob of ginger, sliced
3 tablespoon chinese wine
Water for poaching

2 Cucumber, sliced to ribbons with a peeler till you hit the seed. Discard core. Drain with kitchen paper. Set aside and keep refrigerated.

2 whole garlic bulb, finely minced almost to a purée
2 tablespoon light soy sauce
1-2 tablespoon Chinese red vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoon chili oil
2 tablespoon peanut oil
1-2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of white pepper
1 teaspoon chicken stock granules

1 small handful fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
Toasted white sesame seed

In a pot of boiling heavily salted water, add ginger and chinese wine. Let it boil for 10 minutes to extract the ginger to the water. Place the pork belly in the water and cover with lid. Bring water to boil and reduce the heat to a bare simmer. Let it simmer for 5 mins then turn off the heat. Let it poach until the water is warm to touch. Remove pork from water and pat dry, then refrigerate until the pork is cold. 

To make the dressing:
Place the dried chili and Szechuan peppercorns in a mixing bowl, heat the peanut oil till its very hot in a saucepan then pour over onto the dried chili and Szechuan peppercorns. Let it sit for a few minutes, add the minced garlic and give a good stir before adding the remaining ingredients for the dressing. Season accordingly with soy sauce and vinegar. Refrigerate the dressing for at least an hour.

Putting all together:
Slice pork as thin as possible. Set aside. On a platter, place cucumber losely at the bottom and add the pork slices (keep any leftovers for stir fries). Toss the salad lightly so it is sits high. Spoon the dressing over and sprinkle on the sesame seed and cilantro leaves. This salad is great to stuff onto steam mini chinese white buns (馒头) which is a great party food.

You can keep left over pork slices to add on to any sitr-frys. 

-till next post, ss.

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