This is a Sichuan dish called Suan Ni Bai Rou (蒜泥白肉) – literally translated as “garlic paste white meat.” Not exactly the best of names, but it makes sense, since the poached pork belly is white before the sauce is added. There are different versions around, some using more oil-based sauces and others using slightly thicker peanut-based sauces. I enjoy both, so this recipe has the best of both worlds, while going a little easier on the oil.
It’s ok to be decadent once in a while – a nice green salad for lunch the next day and some more time on the treadmill and you’re good!
- 1 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste if necessary)
- An 8 oz. slab of pork belly, the leanest piece you can find (yes, it’s possible!)
- 1 tablespoon cilantro
- 1 small scallion
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts
- 2 to 3 dried red chilis
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon chili oil
- 1 teaspoon peanut butter
- ½ teaspoon spicy bean paste
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
Bring two quarts of water to a boil in a small pot and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Gently place the pork belly into the water and lower the heat to a slow boil (just above a simmer). Cook the pork uncovered for about 45 minutes or until fork tender. Remove the pork to a plate. (Set aside the pork stock you have now created and use it for a ramen or noodle soup or for cooking stock later!)
While the pork is cooking, chop the cilantro and scallion and set them aside. Finely mince the garlic cloves or use a garlic press and set that aside. Chop your peanuts and set them aside as well.
Break up the dried chilis and quickly toast them in a pan for a couple minutes with 1 tablespoon of oil.
Put that in a bowl and add the chili oil, peanut butter, spicy bean paste, soy sauce, and half of the minced garlic. Mix well and set the sauce aside. These are just the basic ingredients, and you can adjust amounts according to your preference when you make it. There are really no rules here! I sometimes add some of the pork broth which thins out the sauce and adds a bit more flavor.
Now you are set to slice the pork. The best way to do it is to slice the pork while it is still warm and make your slices as thin as possible. We were in a hurry, so the slices in the picture are a bit too thick. Then you can arrange the slices on a plate like I did, or you can toss the pork in the sauce. Taste for salt and adjust seasoning.
Then sprinkled the scallion, cilantro, and crushed peanuts over the dish and pile the remaining minced garlic on top. Serve!