Twice cooked pork(回锅肉) or Double cooked pork belly (Huiguorou in Chinese language ) is one of the most famous dishes of szechuan pork recipes. There is an interesting saying that if you do not eat twice cooked pork, then you have never been to Sichuan. For me, it is the top popular dish in my kitchen, along with my favorite Mapo tofu.
The English name is literally translated from Chinese name 回锅肉. And the Chinese name comes from its cooking process: “回”means returning. Twice-cooked pork means that the pork should be cooked twice. Firstly pork is boiled in water until nearly cooked, then use Doubanjiang(also known as broad bean paste), fermented black soy beans (Douchi), ginger, garlic and side ingredients to stir-fry for flavoring. How to identify when the pork is nearly cooked? Here is my tip: use one chopstick to poke the pork from one side to another side to see whether the chopstick meets tough resistance. If there is only small resistance but you can pork the chopstick from one side to another side, then stop boiling and enter the next process. Usually, the boiling process cost 30 minutes for me.
There are several varieties of twice cooked pork. Most of the difference lies in the side ingredients. Some use cabbage or potatoes. But the most popular one in China is garlic sprouts (蒜(suàn)苗(miáo). Since dish color is commonly be considered as one of the five factors in Chinese cooking philosophy, red peppers are always used together, which contributes a beautifully appearance to improve your appetizer.
Ok, that’s a picture of garlic sprouts. If you cannot get some, you can use green onion or fresh peppers as substitutes. By the way, it is quite easy to grown your own garlic sprouts at home–check here.
There are two popular eating methods of twice cooked pork, one is to match with steamed rice and the other one is to insert the pork into Guo Kui(锅盔) which is a type of Baked Chinese bread.
In Szechuan area of China, we do not use soy sauce, but sweet bean paste (甜面酱) for twice cooked pork. But sweet bean paste is quite hard to find outside China. Soy sauce twice cooked pork belly is good enough for my families. Besides, the thickness of the slices will influence the taste slightly. Yes, I mean it. If you cut the pork slices into thicker one around 0.3-0.4 cm, the pork slices will be slightly softer. While if your pork slice is 0.1cm to 0.2cm, they may slightly chewer. Picture below is a thicker version loved by me daughter and the video shows a thinner version loved by my husband.
- 300 g pork belly
- 1 green onion
- 4-5 Sichuan peppercorn , optional
- 1 small bunch garlic sprout , 3-4 ones, end removed and cut into pieces
- 2 long red chili peppers
- 1 teaspoon cooking oil
- 1 inch scallion stalk , cut into small pieces
- 1/2 thumb ginger , sliced
- 2 garlic cloves , sliced
- 1 tablespoon broad bean paste: doubanjiang
- 2 teaspoon dou-chi: fermented black beans
- 1 teaspoons light soy sauce
Place pork belly in a large pot with enough cold water to cover. Add 1 green onion and 4-5 Sichuan peppercorn seeds. Bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes. If you are cooking a larger amount, cut the pork belly into sections around 15 cm long (keeping note 1) Transfer out and set aside to cool down.
Smash the head of garlic sprouts and then cut the head part and leaves into 1.5 inch sections. Remove the seeds of red pepper and cut into pieces too.
Heat up around 1 teaspoon of oil in wok (not too much, otherwise the dish might be over greasy), fry the pork belly for around 1-2 minutes (Note 2)until they begin to loose oil and slightly brown.
Move the pork slices out and leave oil only, fry ginger, garlic and scallion until aroma. Place doubanjiang and dou-chi, fry for another half minute. Return pork slices and give a big stir fry to combine well.
Add red pepper, fry for another half minutes. Lastly, place garlic spouts and light soy sauce. Combine well and transfer out immediately.
Serve with steamed rice.
You can boil a larger amount for example 600g once and keep the left half for another stir frying in following 2 days. Cool down completely and keep in refrigerator, covered with plastic wrapper.
If the pork belly is fatty, fry for a longer time can reduce the oil it contained. However if the pork belly is with lots of lean meat, do not over-fry it. Otherwise, the slices will dry out.