Hung Shao Pork with Stir-fry Greens
It must have been about 20 years ago that I met Ken Lo, the famous cookery writer and restaurateur, for the first time and asked him how to make this, which is one of my favourite Chinese dishes.
He didn't just give me the recipe, he came round to the flat were we were living and cooked it, giving us a lesson in the principles of Chinese cookery at the same time. The great thing about this recipe, which is still a huge favourite, is that it transforms an inexpensive piece of pork streaky roast into something exotic and unusual.
First of all prepare the pork.
What you need to do is cut it into 2.5cm cubes, making quite sure that each piece still has the skin attached. You don't have to eat the skin, but its gelatinous properties are very important to the flavour of the finished dish. Now arrange the pieces of pork, skin side down, in the flameproof casserole and sprinkle them first with a little salt and then the soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of water. Then add the chopped ginger, sprinkling it all around, popping in the star anise and the cinnamon as well. Now cover the casserole, turn on the heat and as soon as the juices start to simmer, turn the heat to a low setting and cook the pork gently for 45 minutes.
After that turn the pieces of pork over, sprinkle in the sugar and the sherry, then cover again and continue to cook very slowly for a further 45 minutes turning it over once or twice more during that time.
Towards the end of the cooking time, prepare the vegetables. To do this, first cut off the flowery heads of the broccoli, separating them and slicing them into small pieces. Then cut the stalky bits diagonally into very thin slices. The cabbage needs to be de-stalked and sliced thinly and the leek cleaned, halved lengthways, and cut into diagonally into slices. Peel the piece of ginger and slice this into little matchstick strips, do the same with the garlic, then chop the white part of the spring onions into thin rounds and the tender, green part into matchstick pieces.
Then, in a little jug, mix together the soy sauce, sherry and water. Then about 3 minutes before the pork is ready, heat up a wok or a large frying pan until it is very hot. Then add the oil and, when that is hot, add the ginger and garlic, tossing it for about 30 seconds. After that add the broccoli. Then add the cabbage, leek and the green part of the spring onion.
Stir-fry this for about 1 minute, then finally add the rest of the spring onion and the soy sauce mixture. Then give it another few seconds, tossing and stirring, then serve the vegetables and the pork on a bed of plain boiled rice with any juices left in the wok poured over.
You will also need a medium-sized flameproof casserole, plus a wok or a large frying pan