Hui guo rou has a literal translation of ‘return-to-the-pot meat,’ which means that the meat is, well, returned to the pot, meaning that it’s cooked with two methods. First, the pork belly is boiled, then it is thinly sliced and sauteed with leeks and other ingredients. Hui guo rou is not one of the dishes that made it on my mom’s menus, but I remember first eating it (or at least remembering its name) sometime after college, and really enjoying it. When I found out that its roots were in Sichuan, it made sense, because I have not tried a Sichuan dish I don’t love.
When I called my grandma (my mom was in Europe) to ask how to make it, she confirmed that this was a 家常菜(jia1chang2cai4), which I translate as a homey-style dish, or home-cooking type of dish. Another vote for this dish!
Can you go wrong with pork belly? Or doufugan? Or leek? Hmmm. probably not.
Meanwhile, Simba and Pepper love to get in between me and my computer..
Hmm…what else can we do to make her give up on using the computer?
We like some pork with our leek in our family- this was 3 cups of leek!
This is not a dish I ate while I was growing up, but I get 水煮魚 almost every time I go to a Sichuan restaurant. I did my best to re-create it here, after reading Chinese and recipe databases and consulting with my mom and my grandma (po3po2), who moved to Chengdu when she was 4 or 5.
I love Sichuan food because it is spicy (peppers) and numbing (Sichuan peppercorn, or hua1jiao1 花椒), which is pretty exciting to my tastebuds. 好過癮! (hao3guo4ying3)
My Caucasian/American co-worker’s wife bought Sichuan peppercorns from Penzey’s, and apparently she was really frustrated because try as she might to grind the peppercorns as finely as possible, they tasted “gritty”. Turns out the problem was that the peppercorns she got still had lots of the black seeds in them! At the Asian or Chinese market, look for peppercorns that have mostly the husks/shells, because those are what give the numbing or ma2 麻 flavor.
Ground up in a coffee bean grinder