I've usually mentioned my Mother In Law in cooking posts. She carries on the family's Jiaozi tradition. But I thought I'd give my Father In Law some equal time. The Missus's Father is from Hunan Province, which has its own great culinary tradition. My FIL is a pretty quiet and reserved gentleman. And he'll defer to my MIL when it comes to food. There were a few times when I've seen and learned about the foods he grew up eating. His family's business in the highly agricultural Hunan province was growing and drying Lily Bud. With no refrigeration, smoking was the main means of preserving meats. In fact "La Rou", Hunan smoked pork/ham is quite well known.
I first got a hint as to what He considered home style Hunan flavors when I bought some of the wonderful Smoked Marlin that is available at all the poke and fish counters back home. I had also purchased some Shishito Peppers, I really don't recall why, perhaps I had some tempura in mind. The peppers ended up in a stir fry, along with a good amount of the smoked fish.
Thus began my introduction to Hunan food, not a very traditional dish, but I started understanding the flavors. I'm still a neophyte when it comes to Hunan cuisine, but I'm learning. The biggest problem for us has been finding a decent brand of Hunan La Rou. Most of them are terrible, too much camphor, too much salt, too many additives, which many times adds up to a mothball-plastic flavor. Not good eats. But recently, we found a decent brand, pictured above. It is still not top notch, a bit too hard and nitrite laden, but the texture when cooked is pretty good, and most of all it doesn't taste like plastic.
I've always noticed Shishito Peppers at Zion Market, usually at a pretty inexpensive(for Shishito) $1.99/lb. The peppers are usually on the "old" side, and not suitable for tempura. You can tell by how hard and brittle the pepper is. The Missus is a stickler for "correct cuts", and over time I've developed a way of slicing the peppers that keep the shape, and yet allows you to remove the slightly bitter seeds, which can be really hard in older peppers.
I slice the top off the peppers, and make an incision along three-quarters of the pepper.
I remove the vein and hard seeds. You can tell by how brown the seeds are, that these peppers are on the "older" side.
Once you are done, the pepper retains a reasonable facsimile of its shape.
Yes, it is a pain, which is why I don't make this very often. You can substitute green and red bell peppers.
The recipe itself is, as all of the stuff I make very simple. The real wildcard in the mix, is that I used the Big Kahuna to make this. There ain't nothing like high heat for these dishes. Plus, I get to channel my inner pyro....
Hunan Smoked Pork with Shishito Peppers
1/4 lb Sliced Hunan Smoked Pork
1/2 lb Shishito Peppers seeds removed, and sliced
5 Dried Chilies
2 Serrano or Jalapeno Chilies seeds removed, and sliced
2-3 Tb Light Soy Sauce
3 Tb Canola Oil
Salt(if necessary) to taste
1 - Heat wok until smoking.
2 - Add canola oil and swirl to season wok.
3 - Tear dried chilies in half and scald.(Wear protective gear, i.e. haz-mat suit, if necessary)
5 - Add Serrano or Jalapenos and quickly stir to mix.
6 - Push ingredients to the side of the wok, and add Shishito Peppers. Stir fry until fragrant and peppers have softened, but is not mushy, nor burnt.
7 - Add Soy sauce and mix. Taste and adjust flavor.