A classic Chinese Sichuan dish, this spicy Chungking pork stir-fry douses tender pork with a spicy brown sauce fragrant with ginger and garlic.
This is a classic Sichuan dish named after Chongqing, a major city in Sichuan province. It’s also known as “twice-cooked pork,” because the pork is traditionally first poached, then stir-fried. I have simplified the recipe, without sacrificing flavor, by eliminating the first cooking.–Helen Chen
LC Spice-Ometer Note
Sichuan cooking traditionally veers toward tongue-numbing spicy, although this recipe is slightly tamer than most, at least on our spice-ometer.
Spicy Chungking Pork
- 3/4 pound pork tenderloin
- 2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons fermented black beans coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper or to taste
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/2 pound green cabbage cut in 1 1/2-inch chunks (about 3 cups)
- 1 medium red bell pepper cored and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
- 3 slices unpeeled ginger
- 2 garlic cloves crushed with the side of a knife and peeled
- Slice the tenderloin crosswise 1/8 inch thick. (You may wish to toss the pork in the freezer first for 10 minutes or so to make slicing easier.) In a medium bowl, whisk together the wine and 2 teaspoons of the cornstarch. Add the pork and mix well. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining cornstarch in 1/4 cup water, mixing until it is completely dissolved.
- In another small bowl, stir together the black beans and crushed red pepper. In another small bowl, stir together the hoisin sauce and soy sauce.
- In a wok or large pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the cabbage; it should sizzle. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes. Add the red bell pepper and cook for 2 minutes more. The cabbage may brown slightly. Transfer to a plate.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the wok or pan and heat over high heat. Add the ginger and garlic and stir until the oil is hot and the ginger and garlic sizzle. Do not let the aromatics brown. Stir the pork mixture, add to the wok or pan, and cook, stirring briskly, until the pork is no longer pink, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the black bean mixture and stir to combine. Stir the hoisin and soy sauce mixture, add it to the pan, and mix well. Return the vegetables to the pan and toss to coat. Then add the cornstarch mixture and stir for 30 seconds. Remove and discard the ginger and garlic, if desired. Serve immediately.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This recipe makes me wonder why I don’t do stir-fries more often. After prepping the ingredients, a very flavorful dish is only a few minutes away. I’ve been experimenting with pork stir-fries over the years, and whereas the other recipes I have been making use pork butt, recipe uses pork tenderloin. The result, as one would expect, is quick-cooking, tender, and succulent. So much so that I now want to try using pork tenderloin in other pork stir-fries. I am happy to have come across this recipe, and think that it will keep the wok close at hand.
A very simple, quick, and delicious stir-fry that makes a great weeknight meal. I was a bit uncertain of what the author meant by green cabbage. The author intends you to use the standard, smooth-headed variety of green cabbage found in US groceries, not Napa cabbage or bok choy. I used Savoy cabbage, which is similar to the green cabbage called for, but with a somewhat crinkly leaf. It took 1/2 of a compact head to give me the 1/2 lb. called for. I froze the pork tenderloin for a bit longer than called for, so that it was just starting to get icy, to make it easy to cut. I use a very high heat wok burner, so my cooking time for the cabbage was about 2 minutes, a bit less than specified in the recipe. The other cooking times were pretty accurate even with my setup. This came out just the way I like a stir-fry to be: not too saucy, not too sweet, with perfectly cooked vegetables and meat, and a bit of a spicy kick. One could easily adjust the heat to taste by altering the amount of chile flakes. All in all, a very nice stir-fry that makes an interesting one-dish meal out of supermarket ingredients. This is a weeknight winner for me.
Originally published July 08, 2009