Northern Chinese Sour Cabbage Stew with Glass Noodles
This Northern Chinese Sour Cabbage Stew with pork belly and glass noodles, or suāncài dùn fěntiáo (酸菜炖粉条) has become a new favorite in our house. If you’re a fan of pickled flavors, you have to try this recipe!
Course: Main Course
To prepare the pork belly:
1poundpork belly(or double the amount of meaty pork ribs, i.e. 2 lbs/900g)
Start by prepping the pork. In a medium thick-bottomed pot, add the water, whole pork belly (or ribs), Shaoxing wine, ginger, scallions, Sichuan peppercorns, star anise, and salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium/low, and simmer for 15 minutes.
If using pork belly, remove it from the pot to let it cool, and save the stock. If substituting pork ribs, don’t remove them from the stock. Just turn off the heat and let them continue “cooking” in the hot broth while you prepare the rest of the dish.
Make the dipping sauce by combining the minced garlic, light soy sauce, sugar, and chili oil (if using) in a small bowl. Set aside.
Slice the sour cabbage about ¼” (0.6 cm) thick, transfer to a large metal bowl, and fill with fresh water. Agitate the vegetables in the water with your hands a bit, drain, and thoroughly squeeze out any remaining water from the cabbage. This quick rinse will soften the saltiness and sourness of the cabbage. Set aside.
Once the pork belly is warm to the touch (not hot), slice it into 1/4" (0.6 cm) slices. Set aside.
In a thick-bottomed, relatively shallow pot (a clay pot, stone pot, or cast iron dutch oven is ideal for retaining heat while eating), heat the vegetable oil, and add the ginger, julienned scallion whites, and the sour cabbage. Stir-fry for 5-7 minutes, until any liquid has evaporated.
Strain the liquid used to boil the pork into the pot. Stir in the oyster sauce and chicken stock (optional if you like a more broth-like consistency), and then add the sliced pork belly (or ribs). Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes over medium low heat.
Add the glass noodles, stir, and cover again. Cook for 2-3 more minutes, or according to the package instructions.
Finally, stir in the white pepper and salt to taste. Top with the chopped green parts of the scallions, and serve immediately with the dipping sauce for the pork and the steamed rice.