I received a very nice belated birthday present from RC this weekend – The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook. It is a beautiful book with more than 370 recipes. I love that there is a picture for every recipe and each page has, in the sidebar, a tip or a fact about one of the ingredients in that recipe. This gift came in perfect timing as I’ve lost all enthusiasm for cooking after a long holiday in Malaysia where good food was everywhere and easily obtainable!
My inaugural recipe from this book was Stir-fried Pork in Black Bean Sauce. It’s a Chinese recipe and it’s ironical that I’m learning to cook this dish from a Western cookbook. It’s not so much the seasoning to use but the steps in cooking the dish that I need to learn. This is a tasty dish, thanks to the fermented black beans. I didn’t care much for the taste of the pork (gamey) and I’ll make this dish with chicken next time.
Stir-Fried Pork in Black Bean Sauce
(Adapted from The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook)
Makes 4 – 6 servings
3/4 lb (375g) pork tenderloin
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp plus 1/4 tsp sugar
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 1/2 tbsp fermented black beans, well rinsed
1 tbsp oyster sauce (use less if your oyster sauce is very salty)
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
2 slices fresh ginger
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 each small green and red bell pepper, cut into cubes
1 tbsp Chinese rice wine
3 cups steamed white rice
Cut the pork into bite-size cubes. In a bowl, combine the pork, baking soda, 1/4 tsp sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp white pepper, and 2 tbsp water and mix well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours.
To make the sauce, stir together the black beans, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, 1 tsp sugar, cornstarch, 1/8 tsp white pepper, and 1/4 cup water in a bowl. Set aside.
In a wok or large saute pan over high heat, heat 1 tbsp oil until almost smoking. Add the garlic and ginger and fry till fragrant, about 5 seconds. Add the onion and bell peppers and stir-fry until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add the rice wine and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up any brown bits from the pan bottom. When the wine has nearly evaporated, transfer the vegetables to a bowl.
Remove the pork cubes from the marinade and place on paper towels to drain. Return the pan to high heat and add 1 tbsp oil when the pan is very hot. When the oil is hot, add the pork and stir-fry until it browns and turns opaque, about 3 minutes. Return the cooked vegetables, add the sauce and stir-fry rapidly until the sauce thickens and the mixture is heated through, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the pork mixture to a warmed platter, garnish with cilantro sprigs (optional), and serve with the rice.