KitchenTigress: Minced Pork Stir-Fry with Ketchup & Fermented Black Beans

Minced Pork Stir-Fry with Ketchup & Fermented Black Beans

Minced pork stir-fried with fermented black beans (FBB) and tomato ketchup is one of the standard items served at places that sell Teochew porridge. It's savoury, spicy, a bit sweet, and aromatic. The strong flavours go very well with plain porridge.

The dish is different from other FBB-based recipes because it's got a good amount of tomato ketchup.

Ketchup goes well with the salty fragrance of FBB. It adds a sweet and sour dimension not found in FBB dishes that are more traditional.

The stir-fried minced pork sold at Teochew muay places usually has a layer of oil coloured red by tomato ketchup, and meat that has a generous amount of fat. The one I make avoids the excessive oil because I don't think it makes the pork taste better. However, I do use pork belly that's quite fatty.

The ideal meat is fatty pork belly that's minced very roughly – with a cleaver (or two) – into tiny pieces the size of rice grains. You can't really see it but each small little piece of lean meat has a bit of fat attached, so it stays succulent and smooth after it's cooked. And it has bite, unlike mushy machine-ground meat.
Lean meat, on the other hand, is dry when it's stir-fried. Would adding more oil help make it moist? No, it doesn't work that way because the oil stays on the surface of the little lumps of meat. It doesn't get inside, so the lean meat stays dry.

Once the meat is chosen and minced, cooking it takes only a few minutes. This strong tasting dish is great with either plain rice or plain porridge.

There's very little prepping for this recipe. The cooking is done in minutes. The results are delicious.

Minced Pork Stir-Fry with Ketchup & Fermented Black Beans
  • 2 tbsp fermented black beans
  • 6 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1½ tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp thinly sliced spring onions (white part)
  • 2 bird's eye chillies, or to taste – wash, trim, chop roughly
  • 300 g fatty pork mince
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp diced spring onions (green part)

  1. Soak fermented black beans in 2 tbsp water for 5 minutes. Drain, mix the liquid with ketchup, and chop beans roughly.

  2. Heat vegetable oil till very hot. Add ginger and stir-fry over high heat till lightly golden. Add fermented black beans, garlic, chillies and spring onions (white part). Stir-fry till fragrant. Add minced pork and stir-fry till wok is hot again, jabbing to break up meat into small pieces. Drizzle with wine and stir through. Drizzle with ketchup mixture. Stir till absorbed. Drizzle with 2 tbsp water. Stir through. Add sugar and another 2 tbsp water. Stir a few minutes till sauce is reduced.

    There should be just enough to keep the meat nicely moist. If not eating within 10 minutes, leave sauce a bit thin because it thickens slightly as it sits.

  3. Taste and if necessary. Turn off heat. Sprinkle with spring onions (green part). Plate and serve with plan rice or plain porridge.