“The authentic cut for this dish is belly pork with the skin on. Traditionally, the recipe calls for tender Chinese leeks, but I also enjoy the dish with green and red capsicums. The dish should look bright red, thanks to the chillies blended in the chilli bean paste, but it's more a matter of aesthetics. Just make sure your pork is packed with hot, pungent flavours!” Tony Tan, Rachel Khoo's Kitchen Notebook Melbourne
Traditionally, the recipe calls for tender Chinese leeks, but you can use red and green capsicums as well.
- 500 g piece boneless pork belly, with skin on
- 50 ml vegetable oil
- 150 g firm tofu, thinly sliced
- ¼ white cabbage, cut into large cubes and leaves separated
- ½ cup small dried red chillies (see note)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 60 ml (¼ cup) chilli bean paste (douban jiang)
- ½ small green capsicum, seeds and membrane removed, cut into large cubes
- ½ small red capsicum, seeds and membrane removed, cut into large cubes
- ½ large leek, halved lengthways, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 3 tsp sweet bean paste (tian mian jiang) or hoisin sauce, optional
- 1 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- steamed rice, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chilling time 10 minutes
Place the pork in a medium saucepan, cover with boiling water and simmer over medium heat for 20-25 minutes. Drain the pork, then place in a bowl of iced water for 10 minutes or until cool. Cut the pork lengthways into 4-5 cm thick strips, then widthwise into 2 mm-thick slices.
Heat a wok over high heat until very hot, then add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the tofu and cabbage and stir-fry for 1 minute, then remove from the wok and set aside. Add another tablespoon of oil to the wok and fry half the pork slices for 1–2 minutes until smoky and lightly coloured. Set aside and repeat with the remaining pork.
Add the remaining vegetable oil, dried chillies, garlic and chilli bean paste to the hot wok and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the capsicum and leek, then return the tofu, cabbage and pork to the wok and toss to combine. Add the sugar, soy sauce and sweet bean paste and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the vinegar and sesame oil and cook for another minute. Taste and season as required, then serve with steamed rice.
• Don’t be alarmed by the large amount of dried chillies in this recipe. They are not meant to be eaten - they are added to impart subtle heat, flavour and colour to the dish.
• The method given here is slightly different to the video footage as it is impossible to re-create the intense heat generated by the restaurant wok burner in a home kitchen.
Photography by Prue Ruscoe. Styling by Lucy Tweed. Food preparation by Leanne Kitchen. Creative concept by Lou Fay.
Coral lattice napkin from Aura by Tracie Ellis. Salt dish by thefortynine studio. Platter from Mud Australia (sprayed silver).