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Monday, November 12, 2012

Szechuan Pork Stir Fry

One of my favorite time saving appliances is my electric wok.  You can combine almost any protein with a handful of vegetables (anything you have on hand will work just fine), and a quick sauce and you have dinner on the table in no time. 


Another reason I love to cook in the wok is that it's so much fun to experiment with different ingredients and see how close I can get to the flavors you find in a traditional Chinese take-out meal. For example, tonight I wanted to make a Szechuan-style spicy sauce and I happened to have some pork on hand, so I started there.  After thinly slicing the pork, I added cornstarch, soy sauce and garlic powder for a marinade.  Next, I sliced a green pepper into strips and placed those in a small bowl. (Using small bowls for the ingredients is ideal for cooking with a wok.  Just line up all of the bowls in order as they are called for in the recipe, then you are ready to toss everything into the wok as needed.)

The Szechuan sauce gets its heat from crushed red pepper, which is infused into the dry roasted peanuts with a quick stir-fry.  This step is very "aromatic" to say the least.  The heat of the wok really brings out the full strength of the red pepper and the smell is spicy and delicious.

After quickly stir-frying the pork and peppers, a blend of chicken broth, vinegar and white wine add a nice balance to the spicy red pepper.

Cooking with a wok is super easy, but you could also use a large non-stick skillet with equally good results.  This is also a great recipe to start with if you are new to stir-frying.  It's super easy, fast and the taste is even better than take-out Chinese.  Enjoy!!

1 3/4 lbs  Boneless Pork, cut into thin strips
5 TB  Soy Sauce
4 TB  Cornstarch, divided
1 tsp  Garlic Powder
3 TB  Water
2 tsp  Peanut Oil
1/2 cup  Dry Roasted Peanuts
1/2 tsp  Crushed Red Pepper
1/2 tsp  Minced Fresh Ginger
1 medium Green or Red Bell Pepper, cut into strips
1 cup  Chicken Broth
2 TB  Rice Vinegar
2 TB  Dry White Wine
1 tsp  Sugar

In a medium glass bowl, combine the soy sauce, 1 TB cornstarch and garlic powder, add the pork strips and marinate for 15 - 20 minutes.

Heat 2 tsp peanut oil in a large wok over medium-high heat.  Add the peanuts, crushed red pepper and ginger to the wok and stir-fry for 2 minutes.  Remove peanuts to a bowl and set aside.

Add 1 tsp peanut oil to the wok, then add the pork, and stir-fry for 3 minutes.  Add the green pepper and stir-fry for 2 minutes longer, stirring and turning frequently to cook evenly.

Combine the broth, vinegar, wine and sugar in a small glass bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar.  Add mixture to the wok, stir well, cover and simmer for 3 minutes.

In a small bowl combine 3 TB cornstarch and water, stir, then add the mixture to the wok and stir until the broth thickens, about 3 - 5 minutes.

Serve over steamed brown rice with a bowl of steamed edamame.  Serves 6.  Enjoy!!

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