Sunday, August 13, 2006

Hong Shao Rou - Chairman Mao's Pork

This recipe is also called Chairman Mao's Pork, as it was one of his favourite dishes, and comes from his hometown. Every family has their own recipe. In China, the pork used has several layers of fat, it comes from the hip of the pig. They enjoy the fat and oil and often put lots of sugar in there as well. It is very similar to the Xinjiang-style chicken recipe that I posted last week, it is a very versatile recipe, you can use any type of meat. Normally, this recipe does not have any vegetables in it, but my brother-in-law and my sister prefer and make it that way. The vegetables apparently will soak up a lot of the oil. We also had cooked lemon balm with it, it was drizzled with a Chinese sauce. Lemon balm is good for lowering the internal heat of the body, and is thus often eaten during the hot summer months. It has a wonderful slight lemon smell to it, and tastes lemony, as well.

Chairman Mao's Pork
Pork tenderloin (with fat attached)
Sichuan peppercorn (approx. 20)
Star anise (5-6)
3 tbsp. Oil
2 tbsp. Sugar
2" piece ginger, sliced
Cooking alcohol, splash
2-3 cups hot water
Soya sauce (optional)
Salt to taste
6 medium potatoes
one whole head cauliflower

Cut the meat into bite sized pieces. Pour oil into wok and heat till it smokes, then add sugar and allow it to caramelize, swirling the oil and sugar in the wok (the wok will smoke a lot at this time). Add the pork and cover immediately, keeping on high heat. After a minute, uncover, then stir pork till all the pieces are browned. Add a splash of alcohol. Continue cooking for a minute or two, then add the hot water.

Add the ginger, the szechuan pepper and the star anise. Add splash of soya sauce at this time, if desired. Cook covered, for one hour, stirring occasionally, and reducing heat to medium low. Add water, if level of liquid gets too low during cooking time.

Prepare potatoes, cleaning and removing eyes, but not peeling the skin off, into medium chunks. Clean and cut cauliflower into large pieces. Add salt when 60% through cooking time, sprinkling over top, then stirring it in. Add cauliflower pieces when 75% through cooking time, stirring the meat and vegetables together.

Add cubed potatoes at one hour point. Cook till soft, mixing in the potatoes with the meat, about 10 minutes.

Cooked Lemon Balm

Take a large bunch of lemon balm, and clean it well in cold water. Bring an inch of water to boil in a pot, then submerse the lemon balm for 30 seconds to one minute, until tiny bubbles form around the leaves. Drain water from lemon balm in colander. Make a sauce of 1 Tbsp soya sauce, dash of sesame oil and a dash of oyster sauce and drizzle over.

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