Spicy Pork Stir-fry
Spicy Pork Stir-fry
I love to stir-fry! It's fast, flavorful and a great way to get in a great big dose of veggie goodness. I've recently discovered 2 new ingredients that I really love to use in my stir-fry sauces. I've put them to use in this one. I also really like spicy and that probably shows by the recipes I've chosen to write about so far. This stir-fry can really be spicy, or not at all. If you like something Thai or Sri Lankan Hot this could be your recipe! If not, simply omit the Fried Chili Paste and this is a really mild yet highly flavored stir-fry. The dried chili's that are used in the recipe give it some warmth but the real heat comes from the Fried Chili Paste.
One thing I like about stir-frying is the ability to change it up over and over again. It never gets boring to me. A stir-fry is basically 3 parts: a protein, a veggie mix and a sauce.
I like to start with choosing the veggie mix. This is the part where the Leftover Queen surveys the leftover veggies first to see what needs to get used before it's time is up. Then she looks for the newer veggies to see what goes together in a pleasing mix for the stir-fry. I usually have some leftover copped onions, scallions, and sometimes bell peppers or zucchini. On this evening, I had some chopped home grown zucchini and yellow crook neck squash. I can't believe I still have some that's holding very well in my refrigerator crisper.
So now that I've told you all about choosing the vegetables and put this great picture of these beautiful prepped veggies ready for the stir-fry in front of you I will tell you that I don't actually prep them first. I start by choosing them then I set them aside while a work on the next step.
I prep the protein next. For this stir-fry I chose some lovely pork loin chops. I often buy a large whole fresh pork loin when it goes on sale and then Superman usually helps me to butcher it into wonderful fairly thick cut pork loin steaks. I package them in quart size freezer bags and freeze them. When I thaw them out I have the option of leaving them whole or cutting them into various smaller cuts for stir-fry's or stews.
For this meal, I chose to slice the chops thinly on the bias making a very thin strip about 1 1/2 x 3 inches.
Tip: It's easiest to do this while the pork chop is still slightly frozen. The firmness helps me to get a much thinner cut.
After slicing up the pork I marinate it in some soy, vinegar, sesame oil and sugar. I also add minced garlic and ginger.
Tip: I try to have fresh ginger root in my crisper drawer in the fridge but if it starts to look like it's getting older I throw it into the freezer. You can use it straight from the freezer by grating it into the dish you are making and then put it back into the freezer.
So let's talk about the marinade for the stir-fry protein. When you make a marinade for stir-fry or a stir-fry sauce it usually has some type of soy sauce or fish sauce for a salty component and then some type of vinegar. The vinegar you have to choose from vary greatly although the most commonly used vinegar is simple rice vinegar. Here's where 2 of my new favorite stir-fry ingredients come in.
I ordered some Chinese Dark Soy Sauce and Chinese Black Vinegar based on some reviews I saw earlier this fall and I'm in love! They both add a smokey caramelized darkness to whatever you use them for. You know that super hot wok smokiness that you get at a great Chinese restaurant that has huge ventilation and crazy hot woks. It helps to make that flavor happen even if you don't have an industrial Chinese kitchen. Really.
While the pork is marinating I get the veggies cleaned and cut and then put together the sauce.
This ingredient is not new to me but it is one of my all time favorites. It is a part of part three in the prep of a stir-fry, The Sauce. If you don't like things spicy feel free to skip to the next segment of this blog now but if you find yourself ordering your food hot or extra hot at an Asian restaurant, this stuff is for you.
I used 1 1/2 teaspoons in this large stir-fry. NOT Tablespoons. It was good and spicy. I recommend starting off easy with this chili paste until you have used it a few times to be sure you don't over do it. If you do accidentally use too much,
Tip: sugar kills the heat. Add 1 tablespoon at a time white or brown sugar until you can stand the heat. Good luck and be forewarned.
Now that I've got everything prepped this goes together super fast. Look at the gorgeous color of the sauce! The dark soy, black vinegar and chili paste are so pretty together!
Click on the pictures here for a step by step tutorial of the stir-fry.
This recipe is a bit of a mashup that I hope you will enjoy. With mostly Chinese elements I used poetic license to bring in some coconut water giving it a little more South East Asian influence. I once had a coworker from Burma (Now Myanmar) who said she was ethnically Chinese. I would like to think she would approve of this without the fried chili paste. Spicy was not for Mrs. Woo.
I chose to serve this with Jasmine rice.
Spicy Pork Stir-fry
1 Pound thinly sliced pork loin
1 large carrot cut into a small dice
2-3 celery stalks cut into a small dice
1/2 cup sweet onion cut into a medium dice
1/2 cup diced zucchini
1/2 cup diced yellow squash
7 cloves garlic minced (divided)
4-5 small dried whole chili pods
1 1/2 inch knob fresh ginger minced (divided)
sesame seeds for garnish
For the Pork Marinade
1 1/2 Tablespoons Dark Soy
1 1/2 Tablespoons Chinese Black Vinegar
1 1/2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons Sugar
half of the minced garlic
half of the minced ginger
For the Sauce
1/4 cup Dark soy
1/4 cup Black vinegar
3 Tablespoons Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Sesame oil
1/3 cup water
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons fried chili paste
1/2 cup coconut water (not Coconut Milk)
On a very high heat, stir-fry the pork in batches, about 2 minutes for each batch. Don't crowd the pieces or they will begin to boil in their juices. Reserve the fried pork and start the next batch. continue until all of the pork has been fried.
Add garlic, ginger and whole chili pods to the pan and stir-fry 30 seconds.
Add the veggies and stir fry 2 minutes.
Add the pork and stir-fry 1-2 minutes.
Add the sauce and bring to a boil for 1 minute.
Serve with the rice of your choice or pan fried noodles. Garnish with Sesame seeds