Ma Po Tripe and Pork

Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain

21st November 2016

Ma Po Tripe and Pork

With a selection of delicious pork cuts available, cooking methods and flavour pairings are exceptionally varied when it comes to pork recipes. Take a look at the Ma Po Tripe and Pork recipe below, as tried and tested by professional chefs - Why not give it a try? ⁣I visited Chengdu in China, and among other spicy, burning, numbing, endorphin-activating, highly addictive delights, I found ma po tofu. And my life changed forever. This riff, which owes a debt to Danny Bowien’s constantly evolving ma po tofu at Mission Chinese, is intended as both an argument for tripe— and for pain. It burns. It burns so good.Extract taken from Appetites: A Cookbook, published by Bloomsbury, £26, HardbackPhotography © Bobby Fisher

Ingredients

  • ⁣2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons rendered lard or duck fat
  • 12 whole dried red chili peppers
  • 1 piece tripe (3 to 4 pounds), cut into 1-inch squares
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms, ground to a powder in a spice grinder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground Szechuan peppercorns, plus more to taste
  • 1 to 1½ pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • ¼ cup Szechuan peppercorn oil, plus more for finishing
  • ⅓ cup fermented black beans
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • ½ cup doubanjiang (spicy fermented bean paste)
  • ⅓ cup tomato paste
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons powdered MSG (optional)
  • 12 ounces beer of no special distinction
  • 2 to 3 cups Dark Universal Stock (page 260) or chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Optional garnishes: pork floss, finely chopped fresh
  • chives and/ or chive blossoms, scallions, fresh cilantro leaves, steamed white rice

Method

⁣SPECIAL EQUIPMENT:
Ice-water bath (large bowl filled with ice and cold water)
Spice grinder
In a small cast-iron skillet or heavy-bottom sauté pan, heat 2 teaspoons of lard or fat over high heat until it is almost smoking, then add the chili peppers and reduce the heat to medium. Toast the peppers in the lard until dark red on both sides, about 4 minutes total. Use tongs to transfer the peppers to a small mixing bowl. If you want to dial back the heat, discard some of the seeds from inside the peppers once they are cool enough to handle, then transfer them to the spice grinder and grind into a fine, slightly pasty powder. Set aside.
Place the tripe in a large, heavy-bottom stockpot and add the vinegar. Cover with cold water, bring to a boil, and let boil for 10 minutes. Drain in a colander and shock in the ice-water bath. Clean out the stockpot and set aside.
In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together the mushroom powder and 2 teaspoons each salt and Szechuan pepper. Toss the pork cubes in this mixture to evenly coat and season.
In the stockpot, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of lard over high heat. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan, sear the pork on all sides in the hot lard, removing the meat with tongs to a nearby plate as it finishes.
Pour off any excess oil in the bottom of the pan, and over medium heat, add the Szechuan peppercorn oil, fermented black beans, garlic, mushrooms, and reserved ground chili peppers and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge the browned bits of pork. Cook this mixture for about 5 minutes, or until the moisture from the mushrooms has largely sizzled away, then stir in the doubanjiang, tomato paste, and, if using, MSG and cook, stirring regularly, for 3 to 5 minutes, to let the mixture darken. Deglaze with the beer, continuing to scrape the bottom of the pan. Once the beer has reduced slightly and there is no whiff of alcohol, which should only take a few minutes, stir in 2 cups of the stock and the fish sauce and let the mixture come to a boil. Add the reserved tripe and pork and the accumulated pork juices, and add more stock if necessary to barely cover the meat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 2½ hours, until the pork and tripe are very tender.
In a clean mixing bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons cold water to form a slurry, then add this mixture to the simmering sauce, whisking and stirring well to incorporate it into the sauce and thicken it slightly.
Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with additional ground peppercorns, salt, MSG, and peppercorn oil as desired. Serve in a bowl, garnished with pork floss, chives, scallions, and cilantro as desired, and possibly splashed with more peppercorn oil or with more ground peppercorns sprinkled on top, with steamed white rice alongside.
Serves 8