Sichuan kourou
Here’s one dish that you may not see in your average Chinese restaurant. Sichuan kourou. Slices of pork steamed with a layer of seasoned mustard leaf.
  1. Soak the dried mustard leaves in plenty of water, massaging them well to release any residual sand that’s trapped in there. Repeat the process several times. Drain the leaves well, then squeeze out the excess water. Set aside.
  2. Put the pork into a fairly snug-fitting saucepan. Add the 2 tablespoons of Shaoxing wine, 2 slices of ginger, star anise, 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns and lengths of spring onion. Top with enough cold water to cover the pork then bring to a boil on the stove. Reduce the heat to a moderate simmer, partially cover with a lid and allow to cook for 20 minutes, turning once during cooking.
  3. Remove the pork from the saucepan and strain the cooking broth through a fine mesh sieve, discarding the solids and keeping the liquid. Set it aside.
  4. Dry the pork really well with kitchen paper and brush the skin with some of the dark soy sauce, while it’s still hot. Allow the soy to dry and absorb into the skin, then repeat the brushing two more times.
  5. Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Pour in the 1 tablespoon of oil and, while holding the pork with long tongs, lay it in the hot wok skin-side down – swirling and moving it around to get the skin golden brown. Only sear the skin.
  6. Warning – this process will probably cause a lot of popping and spitting, so feel free to use a lid so you don’t end up with oil all over yourself and your kitchen!
  7. Turn the heat off once the pork skin has some good colour on it and set it aside to cool before you slice it thinly. Alternatively, lay it onto a plate and put it into the freezer for about 45 minutes. The firmer it is, the easier it will be to slice it into 3 mm slices.
  8. While the pork is in the freezer, heat the extra tablespoon of oil in the wok, over medium high heat. Cook the garlic for about 30 seconds, then stir in the finely chopped ginger. Cook for another minute, then stir in the sugar and cook it all for another 30 seconds.
  9. Toss in the mustard leaves and sliced spring onion, sauté for about 1 minute, then add the cornflour, remaining dark soy, light soy, 2 tablespoons of shaoxing wine and 1 cup of the reserved cooking broth. Give it a stir and set it aside.
  10. Grab two bowls that have a 12 cm diameter, or one larger 18 cm bowl.
  11. Slice the pork into 3 mm slices, keeping them together as you slice them off the main chunk. Take the sliced pork and lay it, skin-side down, into the bowls – pressing down gently.
  12. Using your hand, take the mustard leaves out of the soy mixture and let it drain a little. Lay the leaves on top of the pork and press them down. Put the squares of muslin on top, scatter 1 teaspoon of Sichuan peppercorns onto the muslin, then steam the bowls for 1 hour 15 minutes.
  13. Meanwhile, simmer the remaining soy liquid in the wok until reduced by half.
  14. To serve, lay a plate over the steamed bowl of pork and quickly flip it over and invert it. Drizzle, over some of the sauce and serve with rice and greens.