Skip to content

Experiment: Fish-fragrant Pork Belly with Pineapple

The dish you see pictured above is prepared in the well-known Sichuan ‘Yu Xiang’ (魚香) style, which incorporates the spicy heat of chili against an umami background of bean paste with sweet and sour notes. The name ‘Yu Xiang’ is most accurately translated as ‘Fish fragrant’, but it has, in some unfortunate instances, been translated as ‘fish-smelling’ (as in ‘Fish Smelling Eggplant’) or, in one memorable but unfortunate translation, ‘Pork Shreds with Fish Odor’. The actual origin of the name and its relationship to the traditional ingredients is a fascinating one, and something I intend to cover in a more detailed post sometime, but for now just suffice it to say that no fish will be harmed in the preparation of this experiment, nor will the resultant dish smell, taste, or resemble anything even vaguely fishy…

The Ingredients

  • 6 thick slices of Pork Belly, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 slices of fresh Pineapple, cut to same size as the pork belly
  • 1 small Red Bell Pepper, chopped into irregular pieces
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. Ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp. Sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Sichuan Chili Bean Paste (la douban jiang)
  • 3 tbsp. Vinegar

You will note that the pork belly pictured above is already partly cooked. This is not merely a timesaver but has some collateral benefits as you can see if you follow the directions on my Pork Belly ‘Foodstuffs’ post.

The Method

First, heat a couple of tablespoons of oil, or reserved pork belly fat, in a flat bottomed pan and sear the pineapple sections on both sides over high heat. Remove to a bowl and set aside.

Heat another tablespoon or so of oil in your wok and, when it is almost smoking, add the pork belly slices. Stir and toss the slices until they are fully cooked through and getting crispy on the outside. Remove them to the same bowl as the pineapple.

Add enough oil or fat to the wok so that there are a generous three tablespoons at the bottom and then add the scallion, ginger and garlic. As soon as they release their aromas, throw in the sugar and then the red pepper. Toss and stir until the pepper is just getting soft and then add the sugar and the chili bean paste.

Stir just a few seconds longer and then add back the pork, pineapple and then the vinegar. Stir rapidly until the sauce is thickened and coats all the solid ingredients and then plate and serve.

The Verdict

This turned out very nicely. I have made variations on this dish many times before but this is the first time I have used fresh rather than canned pineapple and it was much better. I was also a little concerned about the chili bean paste, which was a brand I had not tried before. When I tasted it right from the jar it was exceptionally salty and didn’t seem that hot. Once cooked, however, the saltiness seemed diminished and the chili bite was just right, I thought. Normally, I just add chopped chili and pineapple juice as a sweetener to make a spicy-sweet pork belly dish but the ‘Yu Xiang’ twist (which is definitely non-standard, given the pineapple) is something I will definitely do again…

 

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sounds very tasty.
    🙂 Mandy

    August 12, 2012
  2. You have a wok, and cook Chinese food! Good experiment! i may try it …but not with pork belly…too fatty. Sichuan ‘Yu Xiang’ (魚香) ….ok, I will try this one…

    August 12, 2012
    • Well … you have to indulge once in a while 🙂

      Actually, matchstick shreds of lean pork is a much more common ‘yu xiang’ dish… but not with pineapple. That was pretty much a very nonstandard thing I whipped up… scallion and ‘tree ear’ fungus usually accompany the pork in that version. Also … Yu xiang eggplant is very popular… the eggplant is cut into strips.

      There are countless recipes for both on the ‘net and I expect I’ll get around to doing one, or both, in one of my posts sometime.

      August 12, 2012
  3. I like real chinese food. so many times, people are used to ‘standard’ versions. keep up the good work. here in America, bacon is too trendy…..maple and bacon topped donuts, bacon sundaes, blah blah blah. but this is an excellent use of pork belly. have you gotten the Iren Kuo book yet? when you get it, you’re going to want to sit right down ad start perusing. based on food you’ve reviewd or cooked in the past, I think this is going to fit right in with your library.

    August 12, 2012
    • Glad you liked the post …. I have ordered the book, actually. I ordered a used copy through a third-party seller at Amazon so I expect it will be a week or two before I see it. I am looking forward to something new 🙂

      August 12, 2012
      • Hi …. just thought I’d let you know that I have the Irene Kuo book now… you were correct. It is very good, especially for the period in which it was written. I am going through it for a second time now and will probably be reviewing in a post it sometime soon.

        October 12, 2012
  4. Beautiful presentation and it sounds delicious!

    August 13, 2012
    • It’s not something you want to eat every day, but it sure is good 🙂

      August 13, 2012
  5. I’ve been browsing on-line more than 3 hours these days, but I by no means found any attention-grabbing article like yours. It’s beautiful price enough for me.
    In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers made just right content as you probably did, the internet can be much more useful than ever before.

    July 2, 2013

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Sichuan Chili Bean Paste (Sichuan Pixiandouban Co. Brand) | Sybaritica
  2. Yu Xiang (Fish-fragrant) Eggplant and Zucchini | Sybaritica

Comments, thoughts or suggestions most welcome...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Meet & Eats

The food that I've had the pleasure of meeting and eating.

Uncle Grumpy's Playroom

Current events, humor, science, religion, satire

Food Travel Lover

走过的地方 尝过的美食 留下的回忆

The Odd Pantry

Essays on food

Reputable Sources

Organizing ferments since 2013

that Other Cooking Blog

. food . photo . sous vide .

REMCooks

My Virtual Cookbook to Share My Love and Joy of Food and Cooking One Recipe at a Time

lola rugula

my journey of cooking, gardening, preserving and more

Yummy Lummy

I cook, photograph and eat food with the occasional restaurant review!

Eye Of the Beholder

A pair of eternally curious eyes and a camera...Life is beautiful.

gluten free zen

Taking The Stress Out Of Gluten-Free Grain-Free & Dairy-Free Living

Clayton's Kitchen

Big flavors and fun cooking from a cubbyhole kitchen

Bunny Eats Design

Happy things, tasty food and good design

DENTIST CHEF

Dentist chef, just a dentistry student who practice the dentist's cooking recipes in a dentist's kitchen

Mad Dog TV Dinners

Guess what's coming to dinner?

Chefsopinion

Real Food & Real Opinions

Bento Days

Making bentos for kids

Garden to Wok

Fresh and tasty!

Bam's Kitchen

Healthy World Cuisine

Trang Quynh

everyone is special in their own way :)

Farm to Table Asian Secrets

Full-Flavored Recipes for Every Season

HolyPrettyApple

If people say that life is too short to drink bad wine, it means also that life is too short to eat crappy food!

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

The Unorthodox Epicure

Confessions of an Aspiring Food Snob

The 好吃 Challenge

1 girl, 273 days, 100 recipes

Rabbitcancook

a recipe sharing and bento blog

benleeirene

Just another WordPress.com site

The Food Nazi

Never try to eat more than you can lift

Expat Chef in Barcelona

From my kitchen to yours

Keeping Up With the Holsbys

a journey into my head and my pantry

Nurul's Culinary Adventures

I Love Food, the Universe and Everything!!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

home-cooking recipes, restaurant reviews, International cuisine ,

Naked Vegan Cooking

Body-positive Vegan Goodness

Bites of Food History

Sharing my Experimental Archaeology of Food

Stefan's Gourmet Blog

Cooking, food, wine

FOODTRAIL

A Journey About Food, Recipes And Destinations

bcfoodieblogger

Fresh, exciting and adventurous food journey

One Man's Meat

Multi-award winning food blog, written in Dublin, Ireland.

%d bloggers like this: