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Sichuan Style Pork in Garlic Sauce
This recipe from Cook's Illustrated is spot on. I've searched for ages for a good recipe for this dish and CI has come through once again. This is a good thing because this dish usually fails dramatically in all but a few restaurants. The trick to attaining the velvety mouth feel of the pork is to soak it first in a baking soda solution, which tenderizes and moisturizes the meat, and then coating it with a velvetizing cornstarch slurry. I highly recommend this if you love good Southeast Asian cooking.
Whisk all sauce ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. Cut the pork into 2-inch lengths, them cut each length into ¼ -inch matchsticks. In a bowl combine the pork with the cold water and baking soda, whisked. Let sit for 30 minutes.
Rinse pork in cold water. Drain well and pat dry with paper towels. Whisk rice wine and cornstarch together in a bowl. Add pork and toss to coat.
For the stir fry: combine scallion whites, garlic and chile paste in bowl and set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a seasoned wok or a large nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add celery and bell pepper and continue cooking until celery is crisp-tender, 2-3 minutes. Transfer veggies to separate bowl.
Add remaining 3 tablespoons oil to now-empty wok and place over medium-low heat. Add scallion garlic mixture and cook, stirring frequently until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add pork to skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until no longer pink, 3-4 minutes.
Whisk sauce mixture to recombine and add to wok. Increase heat to high and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened and pork is heated through, 1-2 minutes. Return veggies to wok and combine well. Sprinkle with scallion greens and reserved scallion-garlic oil and serve.
½ ¼ ¾
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