Salt-Fried Pork w/ Garlic Stems & Chilli

I love garlic, I love pork, I love spice and I LOVE SZECHUAN FOOD!! Which puts this tangy, crunchy dish right up there.

Most people think chinese food is difficult to cook or full of strange, hard to find, ingredients. But apart from the garlic stems, which are always in my local chinese supermarket, everything is either in my fridge already or available from your usual chain supermarkets. What’s more if you don’t have a butchers near you you can swap out the pork belly for streaky bacon. I recommend using the pork belly though. The chunks are more satisfying, particularly if you are having this as a main.

The queen of szechuan Fusha Dunlop is the inspiration for this dish which I have tweaked a little to fit my own tastes. The original can be found here. If you like this dish I recommend giving her cook book Every Grain of Rice a go. It is one of my kitchen bibles and I still can’t believe i’d been cooking with a wok without it for so many years!

Salt-Fried Pork w/ Garlic Stems & Chilli

  • Servings: 2/3
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  • 100g streaky belly pork, skin removed (or unsmoked streaky bacon)
  • 150g garlic stems
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil, or lard
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp Korean chilli paste (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fermented black beans, rinsed and drained or black bean sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar (no need to include if using Gouchang
  • 160g white rice to serve (omit if having dish as a side)


Cut the pork into thin slices, each with a good mixture of fat and lean. Cut the garlic stems into 4 cm sections, discarding any fibrous parts at their bases.

Add the oil to a seasoned wok over a high flame, then add the pork, reduce the heat to medium and stir-fry until the slices are curved and tinged with gold and the oil is clear, adding a good pinch of salt about halfway through the cooking time.

Use a wok scoop or ladle to move the pork to one side of the wok. Tip the chilli bean paste and black beans into the oil that pools in the space you have created and stir-fry them briefly until the oil is red and fragrant. Then mix everything together, add the sugar and then the garlic stems.

Increase the heat to high and stir-fry until the garlic stems are cooked (taste one to check: when they are ready, their aggressive raw pungency will have mellowed to a sweet garlickiness).

Serve with rice or as a side dish.

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