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Pickled String Beans with Ground Pork (rou mo jiang dou)

Pickled string beans with ground pork (rou mo jiang dou).

Posting here because I engendered some discussion on Facebook about this last week: looking for a recipe for a dish I’d only had in a few restaurants, I found only this one (a transcription of the one in Fuschia Dunlop’s Land of Plenty), with which I had some conceptual issues.  Dunlop’s recipe calls for pickling the beans in a salt brine, in a refridgerator, for three days: I’m convinced that this was some sort of editing or transcription error: I don’t claim to know jack about sichuan cuisine, but I know a little about pickling, and you’re not going to get much of a pickle going in three days, and especially not in a fridge.  Salt-brine fermentation takes time — minimally a few weeks — refridgerator pickling uses vinegar to give the veggies their bite.  Three days in the fridge will just give you damp, salty beans.1

So this is a mixed recipe: the meat marinade and general prep is Dunlops, but for the pickling I used the recipe that Jarvis found here — except adding all of the spices from Dunlop’s recipe: the ginger, the cinnamon, the sichuan peppercorns, the chilis and the star anise.

Verdict: tasty!  Not exactly a dead ringer for the restaurant dish, but that’s nearly impossible to do at home with any Chinese dish, just because there’s no way to get the wok hot enough.  The beans taste similar to what I had at Classic Sichuan, but I think next time I will attempt to do a proper brine pickle.

1 To be clear: I haven’t tried this, I’d just be very surprised if it worked.