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Friday, October 5, 2012

Shredded Pork with Tofu and Hot Peppers 双丝小辣椒

I first had a taste to this dish in a Shanghai-style restaurant in Canton, Michigan. While the restaurant's name Best China may have easily misled anyone to think that it is one of those many Chinese take-out restaurants in town, this eatery is a contrary to that. In fact, Best China was listed as the best Chinese restaurant in Michigan on CNNGo earlier this year.

This shredded pork with tofu and hot peppers is one of the first few dishes that we tried there, and had since become one of our favorites. A simple dish with simple ingredients, this dish stands out easily with its fiery hot jalapeno peppers balanced with the tender well marinated shredded pork and tofu strips.

Shredded Pork with Tofu and Hot Peppers 双丝小辣椒
Serves 2-3
1/2lb pork terderloin, fat trimmed 
6 jalapeno peppers (more or less to preference)
2 pcs fried firm tofu
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsps Shaoxing wine
a few drops of black rice vinegar (I used Chinkiang vinegar)
a few sprinkles of water
salt to taste
3 tbsps cooking oil 

Meat marinade
A few dashes of white pepper powder
2 tsps light soy sauce
1 tsp Shaoxing wine 
1 tsp corn starch

1. Cut the pork tenderloin into thin strips, add in the marinade and let marinate in the fridge until cooking time.
2. Cut off the stems of the jalapeno peppers, halve them and have each of them sliced into thin strips similar to the meat. Whether to have the pepper seeds removed in an option. Discard for a milder level of spiciness, leave them on for a fiery experience. I had mine partially removed. Similarly, cut the tofu into thin strips.
3. In a wok, heat up about 2 tbsps of cooking oil. Add in 1/3 of the minced garlic and stir fry until fragrant. Bring in the meat and stir fry until the meat changes color, about done. Dish out and set aside.
4. Heat up another tbsp of oil and add in the remaining portion of the minced garlic. Once fragrant, toss in the pepper strips and stir well for about a minute. Mix in the tofu strips next. Sprinkle in some water if too dry.
5. Bring in the meat, and add in the Shaoxing wine next. Stir well, then add salt to taste.
6. Right before removing the wok from heat, add in a few drops of the black rice vinegar. Mix them well, dish out and serve hot.

The heat level of the jalapeno peppers may not be the same on all occasions. It sometimes tastes mild but other times, it gets simply intolerable. Learning it the hard way myself, it may be advisable to always try keeping the hands off the seeds, removing them with a small spoon while holding the pepper in place with a fork instead.

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