This recipe is very loosely inspired by northern Chinese Hunan province recipes for spicy potatoes. I think it was end of winter, but I just wanted hot potatoes and cabbage with pork, and this dish definitely fit the bill.
Finding the right meat was harder than I thought it would be — pork was the proper meat for the taste I was going for, but it does need to be a fatty cut. At one of our local grocers, I can get what I call “not bacon” because it looks just like bacon but isn’t. Side pork is the right cut for bacon, but this is unprocessed. It’s just the meat before it is seasoned and brined and aged or smoked or whatever you do for bacon (This. This is how you make bacon.) This cut is fatty, chewy, and with the added saltiness from tamari (the naturally gluten-free soy sauce) or amino acids, it is the perfect contrast to crunchy cabbage and creamy potatoes. Adjust the amount of pepper to suit your tastes, but go as spicy as you’ll eat it, as that’s kind of the point of the dishes that inspired this one. 1 teaspoon is about right for us.
1lb.marble potatoesor larger potatoes cut into 1/4 inch dice
3cupschopped napa or Chinese cabbage
1bunch scallionschopped, white and greens separated
1teaspoontamarior amino acids
1teaspoonred pepper flakes(or less if you would like it to be not spicy)
1Tablespoonoilmay not need this
The meat in this dish is not-bacon. What I mean is that it's side pork, and where I buy it, it comes sliced like bacon, but it hasn't been processed into bacon. It's just thin fatty pork, and that's what you want for this dish. You'll use the rendered fat, but the remaining pork is a bit chewy and wonderful.
Pre-cook your potatoes. I did this in the microwave, cooking them on high until they were fork-tender, about 8 minutes. You can also boil and drain them. Be cautious and undercook them slightly if you're using larger cubed potatoes, as you don't want them to fall apart as you fry them.
Chop your meat into small bite-sized pieces and cook over medium heat in a skillet or wok. When it is almost done, add the tamari and pepper flakes and stir well.
Remove cooked meat from pan to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Leave the fat in the pan. If needed, add up to another tablespoon of oil to make about 2 Tablespoons total of oil.
Add potatoes to oil -- be careful, as they are wet and will splatter a bit if you're not careful. Stir well and then cook until they brown, 10-15 minutes.
Add cabbage and scallion whites and cook until cabbage starts to wilt.
Add the pork back, along with the scallion tops, and stir until everything is good and hot.