I've cooked 'fish fragrant' dishes before; though not made with any fish ingredients, this phrase refers to the spicy, sour, sweet and savoury elements of the dish based on tradition seafood cookery, with the redness from chilli bean paste and aromatics from garlic and ginger. Dunlop specifies using pickled chilli bean paste; I couldn't find any, so just used the regular stuff and upped the black vinegar. Served with plain steamed rice, it had addictive qualities. Slivering all the ingredients meant that each mouthful was crunchy from the bamboo shoots, earthy from the mushrooms and meaty from the pork in equal measure.
Fish Fragrant Pork Slivers (yu xiang rou si)
150gr pork (I used a pork loin chop)
75gr tinned bamboo shoots
1 handful of wood ear mushrooms - you can buy these dried and already slivered in Chinese supermarkets
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp cold water
1.5 tsp sugar
1.5 tbsp Chinkiang black vinegar
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp cornflour
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp chilli bean paste
5 cloves of garlic
1 spring onion
50ml groundnut or vegetable oil
0.5 tsp sesame oil
A small handful of coriander, chopped roughly (optional)
Best thing to do is get all your ingredients laid out in various bowls. Start with the pork - cut it into matchsticks and place in a bowl with all the marinade ingredients, leaving for half an hour. Soak the mushrooms in boiling water.
Cut the bamboo shoots into similar shape and size as the pork. Mince the garlic and ginger finely, and slice the spring onion on the diagonal. Set to one side.
In a bowl, mix together all the sauce ingredients.
Once you have everything all ready, heat the oil in a wok until shimmering and about to smoke. Chuck the pork in and stir-fry till just turned white, then move the pork to the side and pool the oil in the wok in the middle. Add the chilli bean paste and fry until fragrant, then add the minced garlic and ginger. Stir fry for a few minutes, then add the pork back in with the bamboo shoots and mushrooms. Add the sauce ingredients, toss to coat and once thickened take it off the heat, add the spring onions and the coriander if you're using it. Drizzle the sesame on top and serve with plain rice and some steamed veg.