Recipe: Dry-Fried Pork(干煸肉丝)

My favorite Chinese regional cuisine is Sichuan, of course! In Sichuan cuisine, there is a number of ridiculously addicting dishes. This includes the most wonderfully scrumptious, Chicken with Chilies(辣子鸡), and many other extremely delicious foods like anything Dry-Fried(干煸). If anything says it’s Dry-Fried, that is code for “Incredibly Marvelous and Insanely Tasty, so Awesomely Addicting that You Will Never Stop Eating”. The most delicious Dry-Fried foods are those with meat. The reason I am not a vegetarian and still eat pork and chicken after knowing what those animals live through (sob… makes me feel bad!), is: Chicken with Chilies, Dry-Fried Chicken/Pork, and Mapo Tofu with Ground Pork. Honestly, if there was no Sichuan cuisine, I would be vegetarian long long ago. So try at your own risk!

If you know me, I don’t deep fry at home since it uses up too much oil and I feel it’s wasteful. Also the fact that there is a wok with liters of burning hot sizzling oil that can be spilled and give me extreme burns. That’s the reason why I have to go to a Sichuan restaurant (wonderfully located near the grocery store I shop at) every other weekend for extremely wonderful and amazing chicken with chilies. When I start eating it, I cannot stop. It’s crazy. Really! Some American fans of the dish actually call it “crack chicken”. Sadly I cannot make this wonderful dish which uses deep frying. Actually, one day I will make a recipe using stir-fried chicken, but it won’t be as good. Anyways, the dish also requires one bowl of dry red chilies per plate. And you don’t eat a single chili, they just add this incredibly addicting flavor to the oil. So I always put the remaining chilies in a take-out container from the restaurant, and use for making Sichuanese dishes, lol. It’s very handy and wonderful. But I don’t even use up half of them before the go bad, which is wasteful 😦 but still the chicken is so delicious! YUM! Sorry!

So unlike chicken with chilies, dry-fried chicken/pork does NOT require deep-frying! Yay! So what is dry-frying? It is the process of frying in some oil until dry. During this process, the meat gets dry (like texture in-between jerky and tender meat) but extremely flavorful, especially after adding the addictive seasoning so-called Pi County Fermented Salted Fava Bean and Dry Red Chili Paste(郫县豆瓣)along with wonderful Sichuan peppercorns. And with the crisp and crunchy celery, the final result is SO GOOD! Some people really, really don’t like dry/tough meat though, and so this dish won’t be for you. But while I usually prefer tender meat in stir-fry, a dry-fry dish makes drier meat so amazing, full of concentrated umami flavor, wonderfully delicious, that it is totally fine for me. Just keep in mind it will be dry.

In Sichuan, dry-fry is made with chicken, and also Sichuan river eels. In the marvelous and fresh Sichuan vegetable markets, not only are there vegetables but also meat and fish sellers. (and those with live chickens and ducks of course) As you get to the end of the vegetable section and arrive in the fish section (you can tell cause it will smell bad) you will first see the eel seller. Please skip to the next paragraph if you are afraid. The eel seller has a large cleaver and a wooden cutting board. First he takes a live eel out of the tub containing eels and water. Then, as it squirms, the head is chopped off and it still squirms. The body is slit in half and blood and guts scraped away. Then the meat is given to you to take home. How pleasant! PS. I loved reading this in Fuchsia Dunlop’s book because I was like, wow, I saw that myself!

Since I don’t prefer to eat those eels, and cannot even get them here, you can use beef instead, like in Dunlop’s book, Land of Plenty. You should get it if you’re on this blog for non-vegetarian authentic Sichuan cuisine. (if you’re vegetarian, you should get Every Grain of Rice, which has meat recipes too but more vegetable recipes and tofu recipes and such) It’s my most used cookbook. Anyways, today, I used pork! The meat can be julienned (丝) or sliced (片). The first is preferred. But slicing is what I had already. So I don’t really think that pork is often dry-fried in Sichuan (I never even had either chicken with chilies or dry-fried meat in Sichuan! The first is a Chongqing dish and I wasn’t in the area.), but the seasonings are extremely authentic! So let’s get the recipe! Yay!

BTW, the chicken recipe will be posted in the future. It’s similar to this one but in slightly different amounts of ingredients.

This recipe is adapted from Land of Plenty‘s Dry Fried Beef Recipe with some influence from the Dry Fried Chicken Recipe too 🙂

Ingredients:

1 lb pork loin, cut into julienne or sliced thinly

4 stalks celery, sliced thinly diagonally (this breaks up the fibers and makes it much less fibrous! it’s very helpful!) (it might look like a lot but it shinks to the perfect amount, so don’t worry! I used 5 stalks since I like more, hehe)

4 green onions, finely shredded (separate white and green if you want to)

1 1/2 inches ginger, finely shredded (I ran out so I skipped. But it is recommended.)

1/4 cup oil (1/3 cup for more traditional) (you need lots of oil! if you don’t want so much oil, fine! use 2 tbsp only. first add only 1 tbsp. then before adding peppercorns, chilies, add the other 1 tbsp in the middle of the wok.)

1 tbsp Shaoxing wine

1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns (or, if you aren’t accustomed to trying to pick out peppercorns and accidentally eating one for huge bursts of ma flavor, use 1/2 tsp ground roasted Sichuan peppercorn powder. Dry-roast Sichuan peppercorns in a pan until fragrant, then remove and cool. Crush to a fine powder, which I do in a mortar. You can also use a coffee grinder, not recommended for tiny amounts. Add at the very end.)

6 dry red chilies (Japones, arbol, Chinese, facing heaven, etc.) (cut in half and seeds mostly removed, leave a few if you wish) (use up to 12 chilies if you wish!) (optional, you can skip)

2 tbsp Pi County chili bean paste

1 tsp light soy sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

homemade Sichuan red chili oil (optional) (if using, about 2 tsp maybe?)

Directions:

1. Heat a wok until hot, high heat. Add oil. Spread around bottom of wok. (surface where pork will be)

2. When oil is hot, add pork. I spread out and leave for 30 seconds or so. Then flip and start-to stir-fry, over high heat. After some time the pork will start to release liquid. I add Shaoxing wine just when it starts. But you can add when it is drying out too. So then keep boiling on high heat so it dries out. My pork released a lot of liquid, almost to cover all the pork. Don’t worry, it will dry up. When pork is dry, continue stir-frying a couple minutes so it gets somewhat browned in a few areas. You can leave flat in the wok for about 30 seconds, then stir-fry, and repeat. This makes it get browned faster. As it gets browned, lower the heat to medium.

3. Now put the pork to the sides of the wok, leaving a well in the center. The oil should flow into the well. If using little oil, add another tbsp here. Now add Sichuan peppercorns and fry a minute or so. You should smell the fragrance a little. Then chilies and fry until some parts of chilies are darkened. Don’t burn them! Lastly add chili bean paste and break into the oil. Amazing smell! It is so fragrant and delicious! After 30 seconds (after adding the paste) or so, start to combine with the pork and coat evenly with the paste. Yummmmmmmm! Mouth is watering by this point, LOL. Tip: the chili bean paste may stick to the bottom if the pan is not non-stick. After adding the celery, it releases a little liquid, which makes the “fond” come off. Don’t worry, it will not make the dish watery at all.

4. Now add the white part of the green onion and ginger. Stir-fry 1 minute, increasing heat to high again.

5. Add the celery and soy sauce. Now stir well to combine everything. Stir-fry a couple more minutes. You can stir well, leave 30 seconds, repeat. During this time, the fond should release from the bottom of the wok, the celery will shrink in volume. The strips will be able to bend. But if you taste it, it should still be crunchy. Yum!

6. Add the green part of the green onion and stir-fry 30 seconds. Turn off the heat.

7. Now if using Sichuan peppercorn powder, add now and stir. Or, sprinkle evenly on top after putting on the plate. I prefer adding in the wok, as it is easier. You don’t have to mix before serving. You can add sesame oil and chili oil now, or drizzle over it on the plate. For these, it doesn’t matter much for me because they are liquid. When you’re done, serve on a plate. ENJOY!!!

I warn you that this dish may be too addicting and you won’t stop eating! Don’t blame me if that happens! 🙂

 
It looked better in the wok than on the plate! It might not look that good (unlike the chicken with chilies) but it tastes amazing!!

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9 thoughts on “Recipe: Dry-Fried Pork(干煸肉丝)

    1. Thanks! It’s a huge waste to throw away one large bowlful of chilies that have barely been used. They are very easily reused in any dish. I even use them in Indian tarka when required. 🙂

      1. I thought it was a great idea and wish I had thought of it myself to take the chili’s. 😉
        I think I would substitute one of my fav vegi’s, green beans in place of celery. HAPPY EATING!!

      2. If using green beans I would recommend dry-frying until partially cooked first, then adding, since it takes a long time to cook. Or add them earlier with the pork? I’m not really sure. You can also use bell peppers though. For bell peppers just julienne and add at same time as celery would be added. And definitely you can use celtuce, which is not available here unless you grow it or go to some special farmer’s market. It’s the most common veg for crunchyness in Sichuan though. Bamboo shoots would also work (can find in cans). For any veg, make sure to julienne. Enjoy! 😀

  1. Not an important matter but how exactly does your Chinesee character title read for your latest recipe? the character that looks like 2 underscored
    4’s is also in the title for the stir fried pork slivers.

    1. In Chinese every character has only one way to read, except 行. But sometimes the tone can change. But it’s nothing like Japanese, where every character has at least 2 ways to read it. I also translate almost all titles literally character by character 🙂
      The pronunciation is in brackets after pinyin. Pinyin is not in brackets. A lot of Chinese consonants and vowels have no counterparts in English so it’s really hard to describe. Like the “r”, which is nothing like the English r, French r, Spanish r, or any other language r. It’s almost pronounced like how the French pronounce j. Like in some English words. I represent with “zh”. But in Pinyin, “zh” is an extremely strong and hard j sound. Americans who read Chinese names either pronounce it like a z or like the French j sometimes. The other one is the vowel i. After the consonants s, sh, z, and zh, the vowel i is pronounced really strangely. It is like when Americans make the buzzing sound like a bee “bzzzzzzzz”, but skip the b and no z. Attempt to make the same semi-vowel sound after the consonants. But I also write it like “uh” since it sounds somewhat similar. Yes, it is confusing unless the teacher is in front of you to explain, hehe. There are a lot more challenging sounds. So when I hear non-Chinese people speaking fluent Chinese (better than me) I am wondering how that is even possible! Also, I don’t include tone since most people cannot read tone anyways and it cannot be typed through this keyboard, except with numbers, and if I add numbers people will be confused. They’ll be thinking “what’s dry four fried three meat four slivers one?” lol
      干 – gan, “gun” = dry (if pronounced first tone, it means dry. if pronounced fourth tone, it can mean “to do”. it has multiple meanings because it was a combination of three characters into one simplified one. in traditional Chinese, all the meanings are in different characters. because “to do” in the modern day has sexual connotations sometimes, EngRish translations in China are often really bad so “dry fruits” is translated as “f*** the fruits”, XD)
      煸 – bian, “byehn” = (a type of cooking that is used in this recipe. there is no direct translation in English that corresponds with western cooking term. not like 炒 = stir fry, 炸 = deep fry, 煎 = pan fry.)
      肉 – rou – “zhou” zh is French j = meat (when used by itself it always means pork. when “cow” or “sheep” is added before it, it means beef or lamb.)
      丝 – si, “suh” – julienne/slivers/etc.

      1. I wrote a new post on clay pots! 🙂
        Yesterday I bought a really cheap large clay pot. I also got a tiny nabeyaki udon pot from Daiso a few months ago and I seasoned both today.
        This week I will be making many yummy recipes! I haven’t been cooking much from Beyond the Great Wall (the giant coffee table book on Chinese minority cooking, and a political book against China though. I like reading the stories in the book about travels) and a lot of the recipes are super yummy like the tofu bamboo sticks I made that day (SO GOOD!). I tried the pressed tofu salad (remember my 3 recipes in a row of pressed tofu? hehe) but its flavors were too strong. Next time I’ll use less flavors. There’s also the Miao (Hmong) sticky rice sandwiches filled with the pressed tofu salad, and just thinking about it, it sounds SO GOOD. I am planning to make the Tibetan ratatouille (ginger, garlic, green onion, eggplant, tomato, seasoned with soy sauce and Sichuan peppercorns… incredibly Chinese ingredients but lack of chilies!). I also think I will LOVE the Yi Market Noodles in the book, which has rice noodles in a broth with chili bean paste, ground pork, shiitake mushrooms, tofu bamboo sticks, and more incredibly delicious ingredients. And it’s made in clay pots like nabeyaki udon! Just thinking about it, it is mouthwatering, hehe. So look forward to some minority cuisine! Chinese authentic cuisine is little known here outside of China. Minority authentic cuisine is not known AT ALL here in USA! You never see people going out for some Yi cuisine, hehe.
        Speaking of Yi, not only do they have delicious noodles (hehe) but also their writing system is really interesting. It was invented by shamans to write stories and is one of the few systems to develop independently (some scholars think it was slightly influenced by Chinese). Then the Chinese government used it to standardize a syllabary with over a thousand characters. It looks really interesting and it’s part of unicode now. But I can’t even find how to say HELLO in the language, lol.
        Also yesterday I started making sweet rice wine at home! GASP! It’s super easy. Basically cook sticky/glutinous/sweet rice. Then cool. Mix with the special yeast. Cover. 3 days later, WOW! So on Wednesday I can try it and if it is really good, I will give a recipe. The recipe on “use real butter” (I think that’s the name of the blog) is really really authentic and it’s exactly how my mom said her mom (grandma) used to make it. I halved it but used the same amount of yeast which is fine. Anyways I will write a blog on Wednesday. The wine is about 1% alcohol or less so it is safe, hehe. It’s mostly rice, which chages texture and becomes soft because of fermentation and the wine is very sweet. You can eat the rice with wine. The best is to make sweet rice wine tang yuan. Cook tang yuan in water. Add the rice wine. Drink the soup and eat yummy tang yuan! I will post the recipe too. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for success and no mold! hehe 😀

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