Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Pork and Broccoli Stir-Fry with Peanut Sauce

Stir-fries are not only quick and easy—they’re also a very healthful way to prepare a flavorful dinner with simple ingredients. Fresh vegetables should reign in your stir-fry. If you include meat, here’s the motto: lean and little. Thin pieces of less fatty protein means the meat will cook fast—and still be tender—at a high temperature.

For this recipe, I used a one-pound pork tenderloin—as tender as it gets when it comes to pig. Boneless loin chops will work too. And don't skip the marinating—it adds great flavor and aroma to the pork as soon as it starts cooking.

Finally, the oil. You don’t need much. Vegetables should be cooked to a crisp-tender texture, not mushy and oil-soaked. Stir-fry aromatic spices and herbs like ginger and garlic just long enough to bring out their wonderful floral essence—about 30 seconds. And as for the sauce—add it during the last couple minutes of cooking so that it has time to thicken a little and coat the ingredients without making them too soft. 

For the sauce in this recipe, the natural peanut butter adds creamy sweet flavor to the salty-sour taste of the other ingredients. It also acts as a thickener. As with any stir-fry, have all your ingredients ready to go before you turn on the heat.

Note: I used Japanese tamari in the sauce simply because that’s what I had on hand. Tamari soy sauce isn’t made with wheat as most other soy sauces are, but you can certainly substitute “regular” soy sauce in place of the tamari.
One Brand of Tamari
And a tip: If you use a tenderloin, first cut it crosswise into about 1/4-inch-thick medallions, then cut each medallion into thin strips.

Cut into Medallions, then Slice
For more about the fatalii chile, check out Chicken and Black Bean Nachos with Cheddar Sauce. Or, substitute two Thai chiles or one habanero in the stir-fry.  

Serves 4


For the Pork and Broccoli
  • 5 garlic cloves, divided
  • 1/4 cup tamari (or other soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp dried red chile flakes
  • 1 lb pork tenderloin, cut into thin, short strips
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil, divided
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup thin, diagonally sliced peeled carrot
  • 1 fatalii chile, finely chopped (or 2 Thai chiles or 1 habanero)
  • 3 cups small broccoli florets
  • 2 scallions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups cooked white rice
Sliced Pork Tenderloin 
Stir-Fry Vegetables
Prepared Vegetables, Ginger, and Garlic
For the Sauce
  • 2 tbsp creamy, natural peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp tamari (or other soy sauce)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp ground fresh chile paste (sambal oelek)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

For the Pork and Broccoli
  1. Smash and peel 3 of the garlic cloves and place in a heavy, sealable plastic food bag. Add the tamari, fish sauce, and chile flakes and turn to combine. Add the pork and turn a few times to coat. Seal tightly and refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight). Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before proceeding.
Pork in Marinade 
After Marinating Overnight
  1. Finely chop the remaining 2 garlic cloves.
  2. Heat a wok over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of peanut oil. Remove the pork from the marinade, letting any excess drip off (most of it will be absorbed) and add to the wok.
  3. Stir-fry until just cooked through, 5-6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon and wipe out the wok.
  4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of peanut oil to the wok and add the chopped garlic and ginger. Stir-fry 30 seconds.
  5. Add the carrots and chile and stir-fry 2 minutes. Add the broccoli and scallions and stir-fry 3 minutes.
  6. Return the pork (and any accumulated juices) to the wok. Re-stir the sauce (recipe follows) and add to the wok. Stir well to combine. Cook until the sauce thickens (this will happen fast) and the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 1 minute.
Pork Beginning to Cook 
Stir-Fried Pork 
Garlic and Ginger 
Carrots and Chile
Broccoli and Scallions 
Stir-Fried Broccoli Mixture 
Pork and Sauce Added
To serve, divide the rice among 4 shallow bowls and spoon the pork mixture on top. Serve hot.
Pork and Broccoli Stir-Fry with Peanut Sauce
For the Sauce 
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stirring well to thin and incorporate the peanut butter. Re-stir just before using.
Peanut Sauce

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