To the Western ear, “fish-fragrant” sauce has a very strange name. Does it taste like fish? Does it smell like fish? No, not hardly.
“Fish-fragrant” (魚香, yúxiāng) is the name of a sauce that comes from Sichuanese cuisine, originally developed to accompany fish. The sauce is tasty enough that it goes well with many different dishes, so it’s not surprising to find all kinds of things being given the “fish-fragrant” treatment. Pork is one of the most common foods served this way, with so-called fish-fragrant pork strips (魚香肉絲, yúxiāng ròusī) being almost a staple Here we have pork strips and beans cooked together in the yúxiāng sauce.
This is another easy recipe that can be fully prepared in the time it takes to cook rice.
INGREDIENTS and PREP:
- 1/2 lb green beans or long beans, but into 2-2″ lengths
- 1/2 lb lean pork, cut into thin strips, marinated for about 30 minutes in a mixture of 2 tsp Shaoxing rice wine, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, and 2 tsp potato flour
- 3 cloves garlic, 1/2 shallot, and 1/2″ ginger, minced finely
- 1 generous Tbsp spicy bean paste ( (辣豆瓣酱, là dòubàn jiàng)
- 1.5 tsp sugar, 1.5 tsp Shanxi black vinegar (山西香醋, Shānxī xiāngcǜ), 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp potato flour, 3 Tbsp chicken stock (or water)
- Heat your wok on medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add 1 Tbsp peanut oil and swirl it around, then add the beans (#1). Stir-fry for 3-5 minutes until bright green and beginning to soften. Remove the beans to another dish.
- Make sure the wok is still hot and then add the pork (#2). Stir-fry until cooked, about 2-3 minutes. Add the aromatics (#3) and stir-fry for an additional minute until warm and fragrant. Stir in the spicy bean paste (#4).
- Add the beans back into the wok, stir-fry until heated through, and then pour the sauce (#5) over the top. Toss and serve with rice and contrasting dishes.
Variations: The most obvious substitution is to use long beans instead of green beans. You can add a handful of dried red chiles, either whole or broken into pieces, to increase the heat of the dish. You might also toss in a teaspoon of Sichuan peppercorns.