Cooked With Vegetables

Pork and baguio beans with oyster sauce pork and baguio beans with oyster sauceIt feels strange posting this recipe under both the ‘mighty meaty’ and ‘healthy veggies’ recipe but I think both describe this dish. Actually, most Chinese stir fried dishes will fall under both categories. But so as not to be misleading, this pork and green beans recipe is not exactly a Chinese stir fried dish. It is a very common Filipino dish which I tweaked a bit to make it something less ordinary. In the process, it became a hybrid — not strictly a Filipino guisado dish anymore but still short of the traditional Chinese stir fry which often comes with a starch-thickened sauce.

It is also the first of three pork dishes that I cooked which is explained with more details in my ‘meals in a flash‘ entry.

Combining small pieces of pork liempo (belly) with baguio beans was a favorite quickie meal of my mother-in-law. She would sauté the diced pork with lots of minced garlic and chopped onions, add the trimmed and cut baguio beans and season meat and vegetable with soy sauce. A very inexpensive dish to prepare but still full of flavor.

What I did was to add julienned carrots for added color and variety in texture. I also combined soy sauce and oyster sauce to season the dish.

I don’t know what it is about oyster sauce — why it can turn a plain vegetable dish to something so magical and memorable. I don’t know what it is about combining soy sauce and oyster sauce — why the aroma just becomes a complex olfactory experience that is at once pungent, spicy and sweet. Whatever. Try adding a few tablespoonfuls of oyster sauce to any plain old guisado dish and your family will think you just graduated from a cooking school. hahaha

You will need pre-cooked pork belly (you may have to read this for proper context, about 250 grams of baguio beans, a small carrot, a whole head of garlic, an onion, soy sauce, lots of freshly ground pepper, oyster sauce and sesame seed oil.

Cut the cooked pork belly into 1-inch cubes (cooked meat is easier to cut after it has been chilled).

Trim the ends and edges of the beans and cut diagonally into 1-inch lengths.

Peel the carrot and julienne. “Julienne” means to cut into matchsticks.

Crush, peel and finely minced the garlic. Coarsely chop the onion.

Heat about 4 tablespoonfuls of vegetable cooking oil in a wok or frying pan. Add the pork (there will be lots of spattering so have the cover ready) and cook over high heat until the edges are lightly browned. You don’t have to keep stirring. Cover the wok or pan loosely to avoid too much mess. By “loosely”, I mean there should be sufficient opening to allow the steam to escape. Stir every few minutes.

When the pork is done, add the onion and garlic. Season with soy sauce and pepper. Cook for about a minute then add the julienned carrot and green beans. Cook, stirring, for about a minute. Add 2-3 tablespoonfuls of oyster sauce. Stir. Lower the heat, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Taste a piece of pork with some vegetables. Add more soy sauce and pepper, if you prefer. Turn off the heat. Drizzle some sesame seed oil over the cook dish. Toss a few times and serve hot with rice.

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