Today’s lunch. To make sticky Szechuan pork, you’ll need Szechuan peppercorns and a few other seasonings and spices. Then, you just brown the pork, braise it in broth then toss the meat with the sauce. Pretty simple but very tasty and aromatic.
Yes, we’re such carnivores. Last night, we had dinner with Batjay, Tito Rolly and Apol, and the menu was as carnivorous as a meal could possibly get. Half a duck (served three-way), braised pork hock, crispy roast pork belly, siao long bao, yang chow and a token vegetable dish.
You’d think that after all that meat, we’d have had our fill and abstain for the next couple of days. But when I asked Speedy earlier what he wanted for lunch, he said very clearly, “Pork.” So sticky Szechuan pork it was.
- 1/2 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns
- 1 kilogram pork belly cut into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon ginger chopped
- 1 chili chopped (or leave whole, whichever you prefer)
- 3 star anise
- 2 cup meat broth
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 6 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- a drizzle of sesame seed oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds toasted
- scallions snipped
Dry roast the Szechuan peppercorns in an oil-free pan until fragrant. Cool a bit then grind (a mortar and pestle is useful).
Place the pork in a bowl. Add the ground Szechuan peppercorns, five-spice powder and salt. Mix well.
Heat the cooking oil in a wok, swirling to thinly coat as much of the cooking surface as possible.
Add the pork and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
Add the ginger and star anise. Continue cooking until the pork acquires a deeper color.
Pour in the broth. Bring to the boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes or until the pork is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Note that you’ll need about a quarter cup of liquid in the pan to make the sticky sauce.
Scoop out the pork and transfer to a plate or bowl. Keep hot.
To the remaining liquid in the pan, add the soy sauce, honey and rice vinegar. Cook over high heat until reduced, thick and sticky. Watch the sauce closely as there is a very small window between sticky and burnt.
Turn off the heat. Add the pork to the sauce. Drizzle in the sesame seed oil. Toss to coat every piece of pork with sauce.
Tip the contents of the pan onto a serving plate. Sprinkle the sticky Szechuan pork with toasted sesame seeds and snipped scallions before serving.