Shredded Pork Stir-fry with Sweet Bean Sauce or Jīng Jiàng Ròu Sī (京酱肉丝) is a dish from Northern China. It should be said that Northerners love bean sauce (酱, jiang). In the old days, for a Northerner, a typical nice meal would be two raw big green onions dipped in 酱 (jiang) to go with a couple of steamed white buns (馒头, man-tou)!
Besides this Shredded Pork Stir-fry with Sweet Bean Sauce, the other two better known applications of 酱 (jiang) are probably Peking Duck and Beijing Fried Sauce Noodles (炸酱面).
Our Version of a Traditional Northern Chinese Dish
If you are familiar with this dish, you might look at the opening photo and wonder, “what is Judy up to now?” because in the traditional version of this dish, there’s usually only shredded pork. Why bother adding carrots? Long story short, here at the Woks of Life, it’s our mission to bring you traditional recipes, but as you also know, we’re not afraid to improve on tradition!
Before I give you an answer to your pressing questions about the carrots, let me just say that this is a very “smart” dish. By combining the quick stir-fried shredded pork with savory sweet bean sauce, you get the best of both worlds: tender juicy pork in a sauce that tastes like it’s been cooking for hours. It’s culinary magic at its best.
As for the carrots, I decided to add them because I think carrots really add some natural sweetness that’s needed for the dish. The carrot also does not generate any additional liquid (like other vegetables might), which would dilute the taste–a big no-no in this case. So at the end of the day, you’ve got a beautiful dish–luscious pork with the perfect blend of natural sweetness and savory sweet bean sauce, perfect over a bed of white rice.
But I should say that you can also serve this shredded pork stir-fry dish with mandarin pancakes (a homemade version can be found in our Easy Peking Duck recipe). If you do, don’t forget to include a few pieces of julienned scallion—white portions only—like a true Northerner would do!
In a bowl, add the pork along with ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine, 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil. Let marinate for 15 minutes.
In a separate bowl, make the stir-fry sauce by combining 1/4 cup water, 2½ tablespoons sweet bean sauce, ½ teaspoon dark soy sauce, ¼ teaspoon Chinese black vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1 tablespoon light soy sauce. Mix everything together until the sugar is dissolved completely. Set aside.
Now we are ready to cook! Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the carrots, and cook for about a minute. Transfer to a dish and set aside. Be careful not to overcook them–the carrots should still be crunchy.
In the same wok, heat 2 more tablespoons of oil over high heat. Once the oil starts to smoke slightly, add the marinated pork, and give it a quick stir.
Once the pork turns color from pink to white, turn down the heat (to avoid burning). Transfer the pork to a separate bowl and set aside.
At this point, the wok should still be glistening with oil. Pour in the sauce, turn up the heat, and stir the sauce quickly for a few seconds–it should be bubbling. Toss the carrots and the pork back into the wok, quickly stir-frying to combine.
Add a few drops of sesame oil.
Once everything is well-coated with sauce, turn off the heat, dish it out, and garnish with scallions if desired.
Serve this shredded pork stir-fry with sweet bean sauce hot out of the wok with rice or with Mandarin pancakes!