Recipe: Hunan Country-Style Stir-Fried Pork(农家炒肉)

This super-easy stir-fry dish from Hunan Province (农家炒肉 nong jia chao rou, pronounced “nohng dzyah choll roh”, literally “farm house stir-fry meat”) is so tasty that you won’t realize how fast it is to make! Please try it out! If you do not eat pork, it is also very tasty to substitute chicken breast (or thigh).

Adapted from Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook by Fuchsia Dunlop. If you have been following this blog, there are now 4 recipes in a row adapted from Dunlop’s books! That’s because I cook from them almost every day! This book (and the other books) is really worth buying if you are interested in Chinese cooking, especially from Hunan Province.

Ingredients:
8 oz (1/2 lb) pork, sliced into thin strips (Traditionally, use 7 oz lean pork, such as pork loin, and 1.5 oz pork belly. However, I only used lean pork in this recipe because it is challenging to get pork belly here.)
1 tsp Shaoxing wine
1 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
about 8 oz green bell pepper (about 1 American sized bell pepper), seeds removed, sliced into strips or squares (approximately to match the pork)
2-3 tbsp cooking oil (total)
2-3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
2 tsp fermented black beans (I recommend Yang Jiang Preserved Black Beans with Ginger), rinsed under cold water and drained
salt to taste if needed
1/4 tsp cornstarch, potato starch, or mung bean starch, mixed with 2 tbsp Chinese stock or chicken broth (you can use water + 1/8 tsp chicken bouillon powder) (optional, to give the dish a restaurant-style glaze)

Directions:
1. Mix pork with Shaoxing wine and both soy sauces, set aside.
2. Heat a wok. Add 1 tbsp oil and stir-fry the green bell pepper over high heat for 5 minutes to crinkle the skin and lightly brown the peppers, making them more fragrant. As the peppers cook, use the spatula to press against the side of the wok to cook them more.
3. Take out the peppers, leaving oil in the wok.
4. Add another 1-2 tbsp oil (1 tbsp is good enough for home cooking).
5. Heat the oil, add garlic, add pork on top. Sprinkle the fermented black beans on top of the pork. Let the pork sit for 30 seconds, then flip and stir-fry very briefly.
6. Add the peppers and stir-fry for a minute, adding salt to taste if necessary (remember the soy sauce and black beans are already salty). If using the starch glaze, just stir-fry pork 30 seconds, stir the mixture and add. Stir-fry quickly to coat the pork.
7. Once the pork is cooked (it takes about a minute, just make sure there is no more pink), turn off the heat and transfer to a plate.
8. Serve with cooked rice and a stir-fried vegetable dish. Enjoy!

Remember, wash and start cooking rice first. Then cut everything you need for stir-frying. Make one stir-fry dish first, then the next. By this time, the rice should be done. Depending on your speed, you can wait some time before starting to stir-fry.

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6 thoughts on “Recipe: Hunan Country-Style Stir-Fried Pork(农家炒肉)

  1. This recipes sounds easy enough (yay)
    What’s a good substitute for Bell Peppers?
    BTW. Do you read Fuchia Dunlops’s
    blog? It’s interesting!! 😉

    1. Chinese stir-fry is super quick which makes it easy but you must be prepared or else it is extremely easy to overcook! If you don’t like the bell peppers in the dish, you can use vegetables like carrots, celery, snap peas, green beans, even broccoli, etc. Basically firm vegetables that could soften a little but keep some good texture after the stir-fry. The weight doesn’t have to be 8 oz because different veggies have different weights, but just use as much veggies as you like. You can also use more than one veggie. Anyways, heat the wok and stir-fry the veggies with a tbsp of oil (or less for a healthier choice). The cooking time will not be the same as the bell pepper. Just cook until it is almost how tender you like it. It’ll only cook for a minute with the pork, so estimate. Actually, for more firm vegetables like green beans and broccoli, I would actually blanch or steam them first because stir-frying doesn’t really soften them. I hope you enjoy if you try it out! 🙂
      I do read Fuchsia Dunlop’s blog. It is quite interesting and I like a lot of the articles, like the one about Michelle Obama’s meals in China (The whole group visited an extremely famous restaurant in Beijing to eat roast duck, as well as two kung pao dishes and two bamboo shoot dishes and two beef dishes, ordering seconds on one of them, [in a Chinese meal, there are rarely two dishes using the same main ingredient, and they had 3 pairs! Plus seconds!] and refusing to order the chef’s most world-famous braised sea cucumbers. The chef apparently wanted them to try so much that he gave every member one sea cucumber at the end. Did they actually eat the sea cucumbers? The world will never know… I feel bad for the chef though). Her memoir “Sharks Fin and Sichuan Pepper” is very good too, but some people are grossed out by the description of killing eels, fish, chicken, and pigs. I think, if one eats meat, they should know where it comes from or become a vegetarian! Those eels though, I have seen the slaughtering at the market once and it was quite unpleasant. At least I didn’t see the chickens and pigs being killed though. Her story of how she ended up in China is very interesting. She also ends each chapter with a recipe related to the theme of the chapter, some from her cookbooks and some just for show like Braised Bear’s Paw which is illegal (found in a cookbook discussing cooking for the emperor). A lot of the ethical points like government corruption, treatment of ethnic minorities, eating of endangered species, and the contrast of poor vs rich in China are brought up in the book. I also find it so interesting how a British woman can eat some crazy foods that I would never even want to try!

  2. Would you now eat a sea cucumber?

    Now I’m curious about HOW Fuchia
    ended up in China. She seems like such a versatile person

    1. I found frozen sea cucumbers at 99 last time, but I’m not sure about it.. I think I would choose abalone over it. If a world famous chef gave me a gratuitous braised sea cucumber I would try it though, hehe. It’s a LOT of work to prepare the sea cucumber AND you need to make superior stock for it. The only stock I have patience for is dashi (not really a stock but more of a savory tea!) which I might share the recipe in a miso soup recipe.

      The answer is in Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper 🙂
      I’ve never heard of a foreigner being so Chinese in her eating habits though! I love that her recipes are much more authentic to the real food of China than the recipes of the Cantonese writers who have lived in the USA for decades, although their recipes are also very delicious. I used too many of her recipes on the blog though.
      For the next recipe, do you want to see Cantonese Pork Chow Mein? 🙂

      1. SURE!!! Give me noodles in most any form!! :))
        Will you describe the difference between Cantonese and say Hong Kong style (as an example?) look forward to recipe
        Thank You!!!

      2. Cantonese style AKA Hong Kong style Chow Mein means pan frying the egg noodles until both sides golden, then pouring a soupy sauce thickened with starch and combined with stir fry meat and vegetables. This contrasts with other versions usually made from combining noodles and meat/veggies together, usually called Lo Mein in Guangdong and Hong Kong. (Northern Style Chao Mian uses non-egg noodles.) The other style of chow mein is American, in which pork and celery, sometimes also canned bean sprouts and bamboo shoots, are boiled for many hours in a very unpleasant thick starch sauce made from lots of soy sauce and Italian spices plus msg, later poured over badly cooked rice and sometimes topped with canned crispy fried noodles. At least that’s what chow mein looked like 50 years ago! In some ways I am super thankful for Panda Express to make MUCH more real looking Chinese food popular in the USA, but still highly Americanized and lacking in tasty vegetable dishes. Anyways, the old Americanized version is EXTREMELY YUCK (although most old Americans disagree) and the modern American version is okay, but the real version is very refreshing and tasty, my favorite having pan fried egg noodles, blanched baby bok choy, stir-fried pork slivers with bean sprouts or other vegetables, and a tasty sauce with chicken broth, oyster sauce, and other yummy Cantonese flavors. It is a lot of work though (cutting everything, marinating meat, blanching baby bok choy, boiling noodles, draining and rinsing and drying, frying noodles, stirring the sauce, then stir-frying meat and vegetables, then making the sauce, pouring over, and finally serving), and I think it’s worth it but some may disagree. Anyways, if it is too much effort, then I recommend not making it but it’s still interesting to see how it’s made. 🙂

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