Minced Pork Stir-Fry with Ketchup & Fermented Black Beans

Friday, 19 August 2011

Minced pork stir-fried with fermented black beans is one of the standard items served at places that sell Teochew porridge. It's different from other fbb-based recipes because it's got a good amount of tomato ketchup, a decidedly non-Teochew ingredient which, I suspect, my cousins in China don't use. But ketchup actually goes well with fbb's salty fragrance, adding a distinct dimension not found in fbb dishes that are more traditional.

The stir-fried minced pork sold at Teochew muay places usually has a layer of oil coloured red by tomato ketchup, and meat that has a generous amount of fat. The one I make avoids the excessive oil because I don't think it makes the pork taste better. However, I do use pork belly that's quite fatty. I find that pork that's too lean dries out after it's minced and stir-fried. Ideally, the fatty pork belly is minced very roughly, with a cleaver (or two), into tiny pieces the size of rice grains. You can't really see it but each small little piece of lean meat has a bit of fat attached, so it stays succulent and smooth after it's cooked. And it has bite, unlike mushy machine-ground meat.

You might think if you use a lean cut, stir-frying it with lots of oil would make it moist. But it doesn't work that way because the oil stays on the surface of the little lumps of meat. It doesn't get inside, so the lean meat stays dry.

At this point, you might be thinking, I don't eat fatty meat, period. And this is where I could give you a blurb about fats being an essential nutrient for the body (and brain), how fats don't always make you fat, how dietary cholesterol doesn't clog up your arteries, blah blah blah. *yawn* But I'm not gonna do that. Instead, I'd ask you to imagine what your tombstone will say. (What a cheerful thought!) Will it be 'She Did Not Eat Fatty Pork Belly'?

My guiding principle is, if it's not important enough to be on my tombstone, then it's not terribly important. That's why I eat pork belly, fat and all, without blinking an eye. And I don't wash intimate apparel by hand. But I always give my cats a head rub when they ask for one because their tombstones will say, 'She Had All the Head Rubs She Wanted'.

MINCED PORK STIR-FRY WITH KETCHUP & FERMENTED BLACK BEANS
Source: My mother
(Recipe for 4 persons)

2 tbsp fermented black beans
6 tbsp tomato ketchup
1½ tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp thinly sliced spring onions (white part)
2 bird's eye chillies, or to taste, wash, trim and chop roughly
300 g fatty pork belly, mince roughly, by hand if possible
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp diced spring onions (green part)

Soak fermented black beans in 2 tbsp water for 5 minutes. Drain, mix the liquid with ketchup, and chop beans roughly.

In a just smoking wok, heat vegetable oil till very hot. Add ginger and stir-fry over high heat till lightly golden. Add fermented black beans, garlic, chillies and spring onions (white part). Stir-fry till fragrant. Add minced pork and stir-fry till wok is hot again, jabbing to break up meat into small pieces. Drizzle with wine and stir through. Drizzle with ketchup mixture. Stir till absorbed. Drizzle with 2 tbsp water. Stir through. Add sugar and another 2 tbsp water. Stir a few minutes till sauce is reduced. There should be just enough to keep the meat nicely moist. If not eating within 10 minutes, leave sauce a bit thin because it thickens slightly as it sits.

Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Turn off heat. Sprinkle with spring onions (green part). Plate and serve with steamed rice or plain Teochew porridge.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi KT,

I cooked this for my family last night and all of them love it! Thanks!

May I ask do you have recipe for a Teochew Dessert called "Noi Zi Suan" or 蓮子羹in Mandarin?

KT said...

Hi hi

Here's how you can make Noi Zi Suan: Wash dried lotus seeds in hot water. Add hot water to cover by 5 cm or so, and some pandan leaves. Simmer till seeds are soft but not mushy, about 30 minutes. Discard leaves. In a separate pot, make a medium brown caramel using 2 tbsp sugar per portion. (Please refer to my post Tau Suan if you don't know how.) Add caramel to lotus seeds. Adjust sweetness and water level if necessary. Thicken with sweet potato flour mixed with water.

Noi Zi Suan is like Tau Suan (which I've just posted on) but easier because lotus seeds don't overcook and turn mushy as easily. I was half-way through writing my post on Tau Suan when I saw your question, or I would have made Noi Zi Suan instead and noted the exact measurements. Sorry! Anyways, I'm now thinking I should really make some Noi Zi Suan, which is a lot more 'Ooooh!' than Tau Suan!

Anonymous said...

Hi KT,

thanks for sharing the recipe of Noi Zi Suan, I'll try to do it soon. No worries about the exact measurement, I'll use "agaration", will let you know the outcome...

Your Tau Suan looks goooood...

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