On x-mas, the Vegetarian and I went to a Szechuan Gourmet, considered one of the better Chinese restaurants in Manhattan. The location we went to was in midtown, an area that I might not have expected to find a good Chinese restaurant. The menu consists of many of the Americanized dishes you will find at every Chinese place in NYC, but they also have a lot of dishes that are more traditional. Dishes with eel, intestines, pigs feet, things that most stray away from.
One dish that was recommended to me was the twice cooked pork belly with chillies and leeks. I of course got it and it was one of the best dishes I’ve had at any Chinese restaurant. Ok, ok, it had pork belly, so that obviously raised its greatness, but it was fantastic. Since then, I have been contemplating replicating the dish at home. I finally picked up a piece of pork belly, leeks and the rest of the ingredients I would need to try this dish.
There were a number of recipes online that had similar names, like twice-cooked pork etc. But I finally came across one that really seemed to sound close. Not only that, but he specifically said it was a replica of the dish I wanted. I didn’t have exactly all the things I needed, but with a little improvisation and luck, the dish came out great.
Serves 4 (or two hungry pork belly lovers)
Adapted from Group Recipes
1 pound pork belly
1 red bell pepper
1 tablespoon cooking oil (such as grapeseed or peanut)
2 tablespoons chili paste with garlic (if you dont have any, recipe follows)*
1/2 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon shaoxing wine (or sherry)
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons sesame oil
*If you don’t have chili paste, you can take about 3-4 garlic cloves and 2 small green chillies (seeds removed) and blend with about a 1/2 teaspoon oil to form a paste. The best method would be in a mortar and pestle, but you could use a food processor.
In a medium pot large enough to hold pork, submerge in enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and then reduce to heavy simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from water, pat dry and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Heat a wok or large 12″ pan over high heat and add 1 tablespoon cooking oil. Add pork belly and cook until they start to brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add leeks and bell pepper, mix and cook another 1 minute.
Add soy sauce, chili paste, hoisin, vinegar and shaoxing wine. Mix and cook for 2-3 minutes. Drizzle with sesame oil and serve immediately with white rice. Enjoy!!