Hunan cuisine is well-known in China and across the globe for its fiery and chili tastes. It frequently contrasts with Szechuan cuisine and is amongst China’s eight eminent culinary cultures and traditions. Hunanese dishes are famous for using an abundance of garlic, shallots, and spicy chili peppers. It is what distinguishes it from Szechuan cuisine. Other than that, you can also use smoky and preserved meats and a wide range of fresh organic produce.
Another thing you’ll need to keep in mind when cooking Hunan Pork or other Hunan meals is the quantity of oil used throughout every recipe. Hunan-style Chinese food, like Szechuan-style cooking, consumes a ton of oil. Many dishes require almost half a cup of oil! The cooking strategies that home cooks use in Hunan cooking include searing, stir-frying, quick–frying, deep-frying, simmering, and steaming. Certain meals may demand several cooking methods, and various Hunan foods will involve marinating, which you can do nightlong. But when it comes to Hunan Pork, you will be surprised at how easy and quick it is to make.
Hunan Pork Chinese (Origin and Curiosities)
Hunan cuisine gets titled after the region of Xiang, which is near the Xiang River. Hunan Pork is one of Hunan cuisine’s classic delicacies, and it also gets referred to as Xiao Chao Rou, which means small stir-fried pork.
Although it originates only from a basic, daily culinary history, it is a fiery, smoky, and very fragrant dish – comprises fatty pork strips, fermented black beans, and spicy chili peppers. You’ll be glad to know that peppery, spicy, fresh aromatic, and richly perfumed are the underlying notes in Hunan Pork.
Pork can get substituted with tofu, chicken, or beef. You have absolute control over the peppers you choose. Most people prefer to use leeks or onions in place of or in combination with shallots. Several folks utilize oyster sauce, but you can add Hoisin sauce too. It is a brown, spicy, and somewhat sweet sauce commonly used in marinations and stir-fries. Likewise, you can try replacing hot peppers such as Serrano peppers, Thai chilies, Jalapenos, and Chinese peppers with more red bell pepper to make it hot and spicy. With every substitution you make, this dish can get spicier and spicier.
The good thing about Hunan eateries is that it is utterly prominent due to its vast range of regional flavors. The majority of what gets used in creating their dishes comes from domestic agricultural producers.
Due to its significant saturated fat, pig belly is the most prized portion of pork in Husan cuisine. It does not, however, taste greasy when cooked thoroughly. When making Hunan pork, despite similar popular meals like braised pork belly, twice-cooked pork, or a Chinese pork burger, you’ll have to cut off the skin since fast stir-frying won’t get cooked the skin entirely.
You need to note that Ethnic cuisines demand precise attention to the starting ingredients, chopping expertise, cooking duration, temperature, color, and look. With Hunan pork, both light and dark soy sauce are necessary. The first lends a pleasing brown sheen and a tinge of sweetness to the meal, while the latter contributes a fragrant salt flavor.
Hunan Pork Vs Szechuan Pork
The robust, spicy tastes of Hunan and Szechuan cuisine are well-known worldwide. Nevertheless, due to their various geographical locations, there are notable variations between Hunan pork and Szechuan pork. Such meals will have your tummy grumbling and your appetite swollen just by smelling them. These cuisines’ dishes are not only delicious but also intensely irresistible. Let’s look into these differences.
Hunan cuisine meals should preferably include tons of crushed chilies with seeds and a bunch of dried chili peppers. Due to this, the flavor of these recipes can get described as a mix of onion, heat, and garlic. Moreover, it also brings out the umami flavor of the meat that gets utilized. All of the ingredients, including the marination, are cooked individually and combined immediately before dishing out.
Hunan cuisine provides a touch of crispness to virtually every dish by using a lot of veggies. There are several fish recipes in this cuisine. Pork is the most popular meat, after which comes beef. Smoky and preserved meats get used a lot in Hunan cuisine.
Chilies and a lot of Szechuan peppers are used in Szechuan cuisine. It imparts citrus aromas and a tingling sensation to the palate, providing this particular cuisine its distinct flavor profile. As a result, the tastes of Szechuan cuisine may get viewed as tingling, overpowering spice, and garlicky.
A lot of chili bean paste gets used in Szechuan cuisine. This paste is a fiery, salty sauce prepared from broad beans (fermented), soybeans, salt, rice, and, of course, peppers. With tons of salted peanuts, cashews, and sesame seeds incorporated into the dishes, this cuisine has a lot of nutty chewiness. Beef is the most popular meat in Szechuan cooking, behind which pork trails closely. In Sichuan, rabbit meat is prized meat too. An additional feature that separates the two cuisines is Szechuan cuisine’s usage of a mix of spicy, sweet, and sour tastes.
Hunan Pork Recipe
- 500 gr. Pork Belly
- 1 bunch Spring Onion
- 5 whole Hangzhou or any variety of peppers
- 1 tablespoon of Sesame oil
- 3 Garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon Fish Oyster Sauce
- 1 Brown Onion
Meat Marinade Ingredients
- A teaspoon – Soya sauce (light)
- A teaspoon – Soya sauce (dark)
- A couple of ginger slices
- A teaspoon – Oyster Sauce
- A tablespoon – Wine (cooking)
- Season with salt as desired
- Rinse and wipe the pork belly dry before slicing it thinly. When it comes to pork belly, it’s preferable to get it with the skin attached. The added layers are delectable. Pork belly must be thinly sliced and uniformly distributed. You can put it in the refrigerator for a few minutes to stiffen up, making cutting it a lot simpler. You can create this dish by using pork shoulder, pig butt, Pork loin, or chops.
- Marinate the beef for 10 minutes in a pan with the wine, light soy sauce, ginger, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, and salt.
- Chop the spring onion thinly and green onions into small portions, and mince the garlic cloves.
- Make sure the Hangzhou pepper is rinsed and chopped into big pieces in diagonals.
- In a wok, toss in the chili Hangzhou pepper and softly stir-fry it without the oil, so the flavors remain in the pepper. Sprinkle salt and keep it aside for later.
- Into the pan, add the oil. Wok -fry the pork belly when the oil has nearly reached full temperature.
- Continue to stir fry until the meat curls, which indicates that it cannot get cooked further. Whisk in the spring onion and the peppers.
- Keep stir-frying after adding a teaspoon of fish oyster sauce.
- Combine the minced garlic, diced green onions, and a splash of sesame oil to fry.
- Dish out the softened vegetables and the cooked pork and serve with rice.
Hunan Pork With Black Bean Sauce
Hunanese pork pairs exceptionally well with black bean sauce. It has a salty, spicy taste which is uniquely southern Chinese. Many people like to devour this uncomplicated, homey stir-fried meal a lot. You can even occasionally spice up the dish with a dash of chili bean sauce. It is simple to prepare and pairs nicely with boiled rice and any stir-fried veggie. With the addition of black bean sauce, the Hunan pork’s taste gets astronomically better.
As you can see from the recipe below, the imminent difference is that of dark soy sauce. This particular ingredient does not play a significant enough role. Instead, chicken stock steps in. And more importantly, the use of black beans is eminent too. Let’s take a look at how you can make it.
- 450g – Pork Belly
- 2 tablespoons – vegetable oil and sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons – light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons – roughly chopped black beans
- A Tablespoon – diced shallots
- 3 tablespoons – finely diced spring onions
- A tablespoon – finely sliced garlic
- A tablespoon – chicken stock or water
- A teaspoon – sugar
Ingredients for meat marinade
- A tablespoon – rice wine
- 2 tablespoons – sesame oil
- A tablespoon – soy sauce (light)
- A tablespoon – cornflour
- The Hunan pork should be thinly sliced. Place the wedges in a small mixing dish and toss with the marination ingredients. Allow for a 20-minute marinating period.
- Bring a wok to a high temperature. Remove the pork from the marinade using a spatula, place it in the wok, and immediately saute it for 2–3 minutes, or until it is practically burning.
- Clean the wok, heat it again, and add the remaining oil.
- Then toss in the garlic, spring onions, black beans, and shallots as fast as possible.
- Pour the soy sauce, chicken broth, sugar, and sesame oil a few seconds later. Bring to a boil, then add the pork back to the wok or pan and stir-fry for 5 minutes more.
- Place the contents on a plate and dish right away.
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