Serving
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Pork Cheeks, Red-Braised
China - Sichuan

Serves
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
3 w/rice  
**
2-1/4 hr  
Yes

Pork cheeks are a little known cut, but ideal for flavorful long cooked stews and braises. Since the public hasn't caught on yet, they're still affordable - if you can find them. Sichuan "red cooked" is quite different from the "red cooked" of the rest of China, a lot less soy sauce.



1-1/2
1
3
10
1-1/2
1-1/2
2
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1
2
1
1/2
1/2
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#
in

oz
T
T
c
---
t
T


t
---
Pork Cheeks (1)
Ginger Root
Scallions
Daikon Radish (2)
Oil
Chili Bean Paste (3)  
Stock, Pork
-- Seasonings
Soy Sauce, Dark
Rice Wine (4)
Black Cardamom
Star Anise
Salt
-- Garnish
Cilantro leaves
Prep   -   (15 min)
  1. Cut PORK CHEEKS into chunks about 1-1/2 inch on a side.
  2. Crush GINGER lightly, leaving skin on. Cut SCALLIONS (white and green) into 2 inch lengths. Mix.
  3. Cut DAIKON into chunks about 1 inch on a side.
  4. Split Cardamom Pod so sauce can penetrate.
Run   -   (2 hr)
  1. In a spacious sauté pan heat Oil to about 330°F/165°C. Stir in Chili Bean Paste until well distributed and aromatic.
  2. Stir in the Pork, and fry stirring until well coated with paste and raw color is completely gone.
  3. Stir in Stock, then all Seasoning items. Bring to a boil, turn heat down, cover and simmer slowly for about 1-3/4 hours or until pork is as tender as you want it.
  4. When you have about 30 minutes to go, stir in Daikon, bring back to a simmer and continue simmering.
  5. Adjust liquid as needed. If served as a main dish with rice it should have plenty of sauce.
  6. Garnish with Cilantro and serve hot with plenty of steamed Thai Jasmine rice.
NOTES:
  1. Pork Cheeks:   This is not a common cut - but can be had from specialty butchers and some Asian markets. For details see our Pork Cheek Meat page. If you cannot get Pork Cheeks, use meat from pork hocks (unsmoked and without bones or skin) as this meat is similar.
  2. Daikon:   Choose radishes of moderate size, as very large ones are OK for salads, but tend to be fibrous if cooked. Ms. Dunlop suggests Kohlrabi as an alternative, but here in Southern California Daikon is far more readily available than Kohlrabi. For details see our Daikon Radish page.
  3. Chili Bean Paste:   In Sichuan bean sauces are made with Fava Beans, not Soybeans. Here in Los Angeles Lian How Brand is readily available (made here in City of Industry), but if you can't find it, a regular Chili Bean Paste will work.
  4. Rice Wine:   Use a good, drinkable Chinese rice wine, not that horrid salted "cooking" version. If you don't have this, use a Dry Sherry. Sake is made from rice but is not considered a good substitute. For details see our Chinese Rice Wine page.
  5. Comment:   A recipe for pork cheeks was posted by Cicha Wang, adapted from a Sichuan red-braised beef recipe in Fuchsia Dunlop's book "Land of Plenty". I have returned the recipe closer to Ms. Dunlop's original, but retaining the pork cheeks. They are sufficiently flavorful not to be overwhelmed by a beef recipe.
  6. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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