Tuesday, May 17, 2011

This is Beautiful, what is this, Velvet?

Some store bought pork, getting all velvety with its bad self. 

15-20 years ago bastardized Chinese held the title as the dominant Asian cuisine in America. Now, that title has most likely passed to Japanese, with Thai, Vietnamese, and Indian (hey, that is Sub-Asian) making a strong push. In short, the fried meat in gloppy, sugary sauce that many restaurants pass off as "Authentic Cantonese Cuisine" just doesn't pass muster any longer. But hold off on throwing that baby out the window with the bath water, Mr. Al "Carnival Time" Johnson because we are about ready to dress that boring stir fry in a layer of velour.

Most often meats such as poultry, pork, and beef in Chinese stir fry dishes get a quick marinade in a corn starch, rice wine, and soy sauce slurry. This technique has an awesome name - Velveting. Velveting does two things. First, it tenderizes and protects the meat from over cooking. Secondly, it adds flavor to what can otherwise be boring cuts of meat. For instance, this recipe calls for those thin pork chops you see in the grocery store. You know the ones. They are anorexic and awful, normally. Here, they become silken, tender, and delicious. And as a bonus, you end up with a luxurious sauce. I am still working on sourcing rabbit to make a version of this dish called, Velveteen Rabbit.

Velvet Pork with Green Beans in Chili Garlic Sauce

Pork chops, 4 thin cut jobs
Corn Starch
Rice Wine
Soy Sauce
Green Beans, 1/2 pound, each bean cut in half, blanch first before stir frying
Onion, small, chopped
Garlic, 3 cloves, minced
Sambal or Chili Garlic Sauce, as much as you can handle
Rice wine vinegar, few splashes
Canola Oil

Cut your pork into thin strips. Once this is done, and your beans are blanched, shocked, and drained, mix your velveting marinade. The basic formula looks like this. About 1 teaspoon of corn starch, few splashes of soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon of rice wine. You don't need a lot. To this add, a pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt. Note: At this point you can add garlic, red pepper flake, old copies of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Editions, or whatever else you want. Whisk to combine, and then toss the pork in the marinade; let stand for 5 minutes or so.

Heat your wok until smoking. Then, add in some canola oil. Once hot (about 30 seconds) add in your pork and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Remove pork from wok. Then add in your green beans, garlic, and onion and stir fry for one minute. Add pork back to wok, stir in your sambal and a few dashes of rice wine vinegar. It may need a touch of water to loosen it up. Cook on high heat for another minute or until all the pork is coated in sauce. Serve over white rice.


Cynical Cook said...

Is that rice cooking wine I see in the background? Where's the real shao xing wine?

Rene said...

It is. Ran out of the good stuff; and local grocery store only had that. Not a perfect substitute, but the quantity is so low it ain't no thing, as Omar would say.

willifred said...

this screams for ginger!