After the success of Miao pork with corn and chiles, I couldn't wait to try another recipe from Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid's Beyond the Great Wall. What I must loved about the Maio pork was how just a few ingredients—corn, chiles, pork—were able to combine to create a dynamic and addicting dish, which had nothing to do with the traditional Chinese fast food I grew up with.
Luckily, that's what I also found with this recipe, which swaps out the corn, replacing it with a huge handful of chives. That makes this a more pungent and savory dish. This one also comes laced with a sauce that I initially worried was too watery. But once it cooled a little on the plate, it was just thick enough to pull the ingredients together in an effective way.
- 1/2 pound boneless lean pork, thinly sliced into 1 1/2-by-1/2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 3 or 4 dried red chiles
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- a large handful of chives, cut into 2-inch lengths
- 1/2 cup mild broth or water
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
In a small bowl, mix together the pork and the cornstarch until each piece is evenly coated. Set the bowl aside for at least 30 minutes.
Place a wok over high heat and add the oil. When oil starts to shimmer, add the red chiles, and stir-fry until they began to puff and change color, about 20 seconds. Remove the chiles and set aside. Add the garlic, and cook until it just starts to color, only about ten seconds.
Add the pork and the red chiles, and stir-fry until the pork starts to brown, about three minutes. Add the salt and chives. Stir-fry for another minute.
Pour in the broth or water, and bring to a boil. Then pour in the soy sauce, stir well, and wait until the sauce thickens, which should take less than a minute. Transfer the contents to a plate and garnish with cilantro. Serve with white rice or rice noodles.