You probably have asked yourself why vegetable section of Chinese restaurant menus will have pork on it. It is because pork fat is integral to Chinese cooking. It plays the role that olive oil often plays in European cooking. Asking for stir fried vegetables without any meat would be asking for burnt vegetables. In most cases, the little bit of pork belly is necessary to provide the fat needed to properly stir fry vegetables.
Therefore, twice cooked pork is a staple ingredient in stir fry dishes. In the following recipe you'll learn how to cook it once so it's ready to be cooked again (hence twice cooked) to flavor any stir fry dish you like.*
For a truly vegetarian option, see our blog post on using olive oil.
Recipe: Twice Cooked Pork
Boneless Pork Belly 8oz. We like skinless strips; ask your butcher to remove the skin
Water as much as you need, also, stay hydrated
Place the pork belly in a sauce pan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer gently until cooked; ~20 minutes. Lift the pork belly from the sauce pan with a slotted spoon or tongs, place on a plate and refrigerate 4 hours (or overnight).
Once completely cooled, slice thinly (1/8") so that each slice has a strip of fat and meat. Place in a Tupperware separating each layer with parchment paper and freeze.
You now are minutes away from a really tasty stir fry. Start with a few (or many) pieces of the sliced pork belly in the wok, cook for a minute or two until the fat comes out, add a vegetable (leeks, cauliflower, and/or smoked tofu are all great complements), any sauces you like (or none!), lots of salt and serve over rice.
* Credit is due to Fuchsia Dunlop's book Every Grain of Rice for this brilliant life hack that we have since integrated into our everyday cooking.