How to make Spicy Pork with Garlic Sauce?So in the time since our recent Sichuan spicy douhua video, our favorite Shenzhen restaurant in Shangmeilin got a bit of an upgrade.

They moved into a larger space complete with a proper kitchen, which meant for us expanded menu.

There were a couple great additions but our favorite’s been their version of Suanni Bairou – spicy garlic pork.

How To Make Spicy Pork With Garlic Sauce? Suanni Bairou

It’s probably the first really excellent suanni bairou I’ve ever eaten, so with theirs as a benchmark we figured it’d be a good time to finally tackle such a heavily requested classic.

For the unaware though, Suanni Bairou’s basically some thinly sliced fatty pork that’s smothered with chili oil, seasoned soy sauce, and like a mountain of pounded garlic.

It needs a bit of prep but can be made well in advance so you can munch on it throughout the week.

But right.

To get started with spicy garlic pork, you’ll need pork.

This was 600 grams of pork from the ham of the pig.. roughly 70% lean.

Now the absolute ideal cut for this is called erdaorou, it’s from the very hind of the pig which you can see here illustrated with our top-notch graphic design skills.

Now I know the ham cut can actually be hard to come by in the West, so feel free to swap for pork belly instead… but either way just first soak that for at least 30 minutes in cool water to draw out the myoglobin.

Now to help our slab of pork keep shape while poaching, we’re skewering this guy in a few different directions.

How to make Spicy Pork with Garlic Sauce
How to make Spicy Pork with Garlic Sauce

This is Steph’s personal approach to help make this easier to cut in the end, so you can totally wrap in butcher’s twine instead if you like, we were just fresh out.

And now, to poach.

So to a pot of cool water first toss in 25 grams of scallions tied in a knot, two inches of smashed ginger, and a nice glug of liaojiu a.k.a. Shaoxing wine, about two tablespoons.

How to make Spicy Pork with Garlic Sauce
How to make Spicy Pork with Garlic Sauce

Then nestle in the pork, cover, and bring that up to a boil.

Then once it’s at a rapid boil, keep that going for twelve minutes.

We know this isn’t exactly poaching, but ‘boiled pork’ doesn’t really have the same ring to it.

Then after that time just shut off the heat, keep it covered and… don’t peek.

Let that naturally come back down to room temperature, about two to three hours.

So for the sauce, the first thing that you’ll need is a quarter cup of a good quality homemade red chili oil.

I know that’s a little annoying to call for, but if you’re cooking Sichuan food it’s helpful to have a big batch handy… and definitely check out our Sichuan chili oil recipe up here if it’s your first time.

We’ll also need a nice bit of the titular ingredient, garlic – about one small head’s worth.finely minced, then tossed in a bowl and pounded for about two minutes.

And finally, you’ll need a half cup of seasoned soy sauce, it’s another Sichuan staple so just like chili oil, it makes the most sense to make a big batch and just have some lying around.

To do just that, to a pot toss in one cup of soy sauce, half a cup of water, 125 grams of slab sugar or dark brown sugar, one small cinnamon stick, two large dried bay leaves, one-star anise, a quarter teaspoon of fennel seed, a couple of pieces of sand ginger and feel free to sub that with dried galangal, and one black cardamom pod slightly crushed open and just skip that if you can’t find it.

Now cover, and over a medium flame bring that all up to a boil.

Then once it’s good and bubbling, turn the flame to the lowest heat your stove’ll go,

and let that simmer for 30 minutes, still covered.

Then, after that time, check to see if the soy sauce’s done by dipping in a spoon.

If it coats in a thin even layer, it’s done. so, shut off the heat, let it chill for a couple minutes, and strain that into a jar to keep.

Back to our pork now, after a few hours, it should be cool enough. you’ll be fine so long as you’re looking at something under say 40 Celcius.

Now take out the skewers, and let that dry off in the fridge till you’re ready to serve for at least 15 minutes but longer would be ok and even recommended.

But either way, we’ve now arrived at the one slightly challenging part here, thinly slicing the pork.



So find the widest side of your slab of ham and slice… what we’re aiming for would be like a one or a two on a deli slicer, so about 1mm thick.

If you’re using pork belly instead, first make sure it’s cut into about three inch wide strips and slice down in the same way.

Again.. you will have some extra here, so save the extra to make more suanni bairou, or fry up some huiguorou, or, I dunno toss in a sandwich or something.

Besides that, we’ll also be serving this with some cucumber.

We used half an Asian cucumber, then, using a vegetable peeler, slice that into slimilarly thick pieces.

Now grab a serving plate and optionally curl those cucumber slices up to make it all pretty.

Then lay a few slices of pork over the cucumber, circle them around the plate, and this is ready for sauce.

So quickly assemble that sauce by grabbing your bowl of pounded garlic, and adding in a quarter teaspoon salt, a quarter teaspoon MSG, and a half cup of your seasoned soy sauce.

Give it a good mix, then add in a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil and a quarter cup of your homemade red chili oil.

Brief mix, then smother that all over your pork slices.

Optionally garnish with a nice handful of scallions, and your suanni bairou is done.

So, an even for traditional way to serve Suanni Bairou is to serve it hot.

What you do is dip the meat back into hot, boiling water for a few seconds, and then mix the hot meat pieces with the sauce.

But we really like this cold version, and this is usually what you get outside, so this is what we went with.

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