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!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Crispy Pork and Chile Stir-Fry

Stir-fry is one of my favorite dishes to cook. The possible (and sensible) ingredients are so varied, but, as with any recipe, it’s best to know when to say when. Cleaning out the fridge is not necessarily a good measure of what to use. Also keep amounts in mind: When you’re including several vegetables or aromatic ingredients, you need only a few of each.

Thin pieces of lean, boneless pork chops turn golden outside and tender inside when they spend a little time in a cornstarch-egg white slurry, get dusted with flour, and are then fried quickly in peanut oil.

The dried chiles in this recipe add smoky, savory depth—and a little heat—to the dish, but, of course, they’re not meant to be eaten. Enjoy their residual flavor (and pretty look) but leave the whole pods in the bowl.

And the golden rule of stir-fry: Have everything prepared before you turn on the heat. Prepping takes a little time, but cooking happens fast.

Serves 4

  • 1 lage egg white, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 4 tsp soy sauce, divided
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 lb boneless pork chops, cut into thin 2-inch strips
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup peanut oil
  • 8 chiles de arbol (or other small dried red chiles), stems removed
  • 4 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3-1/2 oz snow peas, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1/4 cup small mint leaves
  • 2 cups cooked short-grain white rice, for serving
Boneless Pork Chops 
Prepared Pork 
Stir-Fry Vegetables and Herbs
Prepared Vegetables and Herbs
Tip: Make short work of the snow peas by stacking several and slicing altogether:

  1. Place the egg white, cornstarch, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, and sesame oil in a medium bowl and whisk until well combined. Add the pork and stir to coat. Let stand 30 minutes.
  2. Heat a wok or large, deep skillet over medium-high heat and add 1/3 cup peanut oil. Add the dried chiles and cook until dark red, about 10 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chiles to a bowl.
  3. Sprinkle the pork with the flour and stir well to coat. Add 1/2 the pork to the wok and fry until golden brown and just cooked through, 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pork to the bowl with the chiles and repeat with the remaining pork, transferring to the same bowl.
Cornstarch Slurry
Pork in Cornstarch Slurry
Flour Added
Chiles in Oil
Browned Chiles
Pork Beginning to Cook 
Stir-Fried Pork
  1. Add the scallions and remaining 2 teaspoons soy sauce to the wok and stir-fry until softened, 2 minutes.
  2. Add the snow peas, garlic, and ginger and stir-fry 2 minutes. Add the sugar and return the pork and chiles to the wok. Stir-fry until hot throughout, 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the mint leaves.
Stir-Fried Scallions
Snow Pea Mixture 
Pork and Chiles Returned
Mint Added
To serve, divide the rice among 4 shallow bowls. Divide the pork mixture on top and serve hot.

Crispy Pork and Chile Stir-Fry

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