Stir-Fry Pork with Vegetables and Black Bean Chili Garlic Sauce


Stir-Fry Pork with Vegetables and Black Bean Chili Garlic SauceThis is a recipe loosely based on one by Fuchsia Dunlop, from her book Every Grain of Rice. The sauce represented here is intensely dark, rich and fragrant; elevated by the Laoganma black bean chili oil.  Look for it in large Asian markets – it is an amazing product. Enjoy!

 

INGREDIENTS:

4 oz. ground pork with a decent amount of fat
1” chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 large shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1” planks
handful of snow peas, trimmed and cut in half
1/4 large red onion, cut in wedges
1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced in 1” pieces
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced in 1” pieces
1 large scallion, trimmed and cut in 2” sections at a bias

FOR THE SAUCE:
1 heaping tbs. Laoganma® Chili Oil with Black Bean
1/2 tsp. Lee Kum Kee® Black Bean Garlic Sauce
1/2 cup beef stock
1 tbs. dark soy sauce
1 tbs. Shaoxing wine
1 tsp. Gold Plum® Chinkiang black vinegar
1 tsp. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. corn starch
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
1/4 tsp. ground Szechuan peppercorns*, toasted in a mortar
1 tsp. sesame oil

1 cup Thai Jasmine rice
2 tbs. canola oil, divided

 

DIRECTIONS:

Cut, measure and prepare all ingredients so you have them ready, and at hand.
Prepare the sauce by adding everything except the Laoganma chili oil and sesame oil to a small mixing bowl. Mix well.

Heat a wok over high heat until it starts to smoke. Add 1 tbs. canola oil and swirl the wok to coat. Add the ground pork and stir-fry with a long-handled Chinese spatula until no longer pink and the surface starts to brown. Drain and set the pork aside. Discard the fat from the wok.

Add the remaining canola oil to the wok and stir to coat. Add the Laoganma chili oil, the ginger and garlic. Quickly stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the bell pepper, red onion, mushrooms, carrot and snow peas. Stir-fry until crisp-tender and the surfaces start to char. Add the sauce mixture and stir, scraping to deglaze the wok. Keep stirring for 2-3 minutes until the sauce is reduced by half. Add the pork back to the wok.

Add the chopped scallion and stir for about a minute until it is just wilted. Add the sesame oil. Remove the wok from the heat and serve with jasmine rice.

To prepare the rice:
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a 2.5 quart heavy stock pot. Add the jasmine rice and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally until the liquid is reduced and the surface starts to show pock marks. Cover and cook over very low heat for 20 minutes. Fluff and serve. Time the rice so it is done when you are done with the stir-fry.

Serves 2.

*A note on the Szechuan peppercorns: These may be hard to find, but they add such a unique flavor to this dish. They are not true peppercorns, but actually the seed pods from the Asian prickly ash shrub. Toast one level teaspoon in a small cast-iron skillet over medium heat until they just start to smell fragrant. Shake them occasionally so they don’t scorch. Immediately remove from the heat and transfer to a mortar. Lightly grind by hand until the pods are crushed. Discard the hard black seeds, as they are very gritty. Run through a fine mesh screen and discard the larger pieces. Keep the fine powder in a small airtight spice jar stored in your fridge. It will last about a week before the flavor starts to fade. These peppercorns produce a numbing sensation on your tongue, which is caused by the active compound hydroxy alpha sanshool. The spice is widely used in Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, China and Northern India.

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Stir-Fry Carrots with Shiitake Mushrooms and Scallion


This is a simple, healthy and quick vegetable side dish that compliments a variety of main-course meals. Be sure to add the scallion only at the last minute or two so it doesn’t wilt too much.

Ingredients:

5 large carrots, peeled, cut into thirds and then cut into matchsticks
4 stalks scallion, roots trimmed, cut into thirds and then matchsticks
2 large shiitake mushrooms, washed, stems removed and sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1″ chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 tbs. brown sugar
1 tbs. rice vinegar
2 tbs. soy sauce
Dash of sesame oil

1 tbs. peanut oil for frying

Directions:

Prepare the vegetables and pat dry, so the stir-fry will be crisp and not soggy. Allow to warm up to room temperature. Mix the soy sauce, brown sugar and rice vinegar in a small bowl and set aside. Mince the garlic and ginger in a food processor and set aside.

Heat a wok until it just smokes over high heat – a drop of water should vaporize within one second when ready. Add the peanut oil to the sides of the wok and swirl to coat the surface. Add the garlic and ginger and quickly stir-fry for about ten seconds, until aromatic. Immediately add the carrot and mushrooms and stir-fry until lightly seared, about two to three minutes.

Add the soy-vinegar-sugar mixture and stir to incorporate. Reduce for one minute. Add the scallion and sesame oil and stir until just heated through.  Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Serves 2-4

Bangkok Thai Chicken


Here’s one for dedicated Thai foodies; this recipe is quite hot and a traditional favorite. I really dig making this on the outdoor charcoal grill with my 14-pound cast-iron Lodge wok. The results are fantastic, it doesn’t heat up the house and cleanup is a snap.

Ingredients:

4 spit skinned chicken breasts
2 tsp. salt
1 tbs. ground turmeric
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbs. garam masala
3 tbs. peanut oil
5 dried Thai chiles
4 stalks lemon grass, cleaned and minced
2 stalks green onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbs. chili sauce or a dash of hot Sambal chili paste
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tsp. lime juice
2 tsp. salt
1 cup diced carrots, blanched
1 cup cooked peas
15 fresh mint leaves

Steamed white rice

Directions:

Toss the chicken with the salt, turmeric, garam masala and cinnamon.

Cut off and discard the chili stems, shake out the seeds.

Place the dried chilies into a cup of boiling water and refresh for 10 minutes.

Drain and puree with the fresh chilies, the scallion, garlic and lemon grass in a food processor. Reserve.

Heat the peanut oil in a large wok over high heat. Brown the chicken breast pieces and set aside.

Add the chili mixture to the wok, and cook for 4 minutes until fragrant and lightly browned.

Add the chicken back to the wok and cook, tossing, until cooked thoroughly.

Stir in the chili paste and vinegar, the salt, coconut milk and the lime juice.

Cook for several minutes after the mixture boils, to heat through, then add the vegetables and mint.

Toss and serve with steamed white rice.

Serves 4

Stir-Fry Vegetables with Ginger and Garlic


This is a simple stir-fry recipe that can be used with any fresh vegetables that you have on hand. Just make sure to cut them in small, even pieces. The seasoning is light and flavorful. If you prefer it spicy, add a couple of crushed chilies to the wok oil before frying.

A properly-heated wok is a must with this recipe to ensure that the veggies don’t get soggy. My electric flat-top stove doesn’t generate enough heat so I use my cast-iron Lodge wok on a 22″ Weber grill over real wood charcoal until it’s blistering hot.

Ingredients:

2 handfuls fresh string beans – washed, ends snipped and cut into 2″ pieces
2 carrots, peeled and thin sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced into 1/2″ strips
1 head broccoli, washed thoroughly and trimmed
2 scallions (green stalk onions), washed, split and quartered with roots removed.
1″ chunk of ginger, about the diameter of a quarter, peeled and minced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 tbs. soy sauce
1 tsp. pure sesame oil

2 tbs. peanut oil for frying

Directions:

Prepare all vegetables and seasoning before cooking. This recipe cooks fast – it will be done in four minutes once it hits the wok.

Trim all vegetables and pat dry. Let warm up to room temperature before placing in the wok.

Combine the minced garlic, ginger, 2 tbs. soy sauce and 1 tsp. sesame oil in a small mixing bowl. Mix well and set aside.

Heat a wok over high heat until it smokes. Add the 2 tbs. peanut oil and swirl to coat the sides of the wok. When it just starts to smoke test the temperature by adding a drop of water to the side of the wok. It should sizzle and evaporate almost instantly.

Add the ginger and garlic mixture to the wok and quickly stir fry using a wok ladle or two silicone spatulas to avoid scorching until just aromatic. On a very hot wok this should take no more than 30 seconds. Immediately add the vegetables and stir to coat well. Let sit for a minute. Stir briefly, let sit for an additional minute to sear. Stir well to incorporate and remove when just crisp-tender – about four minutes total.

Serve with steamed white rice and your choice of a dinner selection.

Serves 2-4.

Chinese Lemon Chicken


Here’s a great Chinese recipe that surpasses any takeout meal. Using a wok effectively with controlled high heat takes a bit of practice – but the results are fantastic. Take care not to stir the chicken too much when frying, or the batter will flake off.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. boneless-skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1” cubes)

For the Marinade:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon salt

For the Batter:
2 large eggs
¼ cup cornstarch
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch white pepper

1 quart vegetable oil (for deep frying)

For the Sauce:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 cup chicken broth
1 tbs. cornstarch
¾ teaspoon salt
3 slices of lemon (rind and seeds removed)

2 tbs. peanut oil

Directions:

Place the cut chicken breast pieces into a mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and ½ teaspoon of salt. Mix well, cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

To make the batter – beat 2 large eggs with ¼ cup of cornstarch, a pinch of white pepper and baking powder.  Thoroughly coat the chicken with the batter.

Heat a deep fryer or wok to 350 degrees with one quart of vegetable oil. Deep-fry the chicken in batches until fully cooked and golden brown. Caution: Adding cold food to hot oil will cause the oil to splatter! Let the chicken warm up before adding to the deep fryer or wok. Drain the chicken on paper towels in a covered baking dish to keep it hot.

Prepare the lemon sauce – combine 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoons cornstarch, 1 cup chicken broth, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and ¾ teaspoon salt. Mix until well combined and add 3 slices of lemon to the sauce mixture.

Heat two tablespoons of peanut oil in your wok until it ripples and add the chicken back into the wok. Stir-fry until just crisp and heated through. Stir in the lemon sauce mixture. Mix well until the sauce becomes clear and reduced, about one to two minutes.  Remove immediately.

Serve with steamed white rice and broccoli.

Note: for a thicker, crispier coating, dip the chicken pieces in corn starch or flour after removing from the marinade. Then dip in beaten egg. Coat the pieces in corn starch or flour again. Then coat in the batter and fry as instructed.

Serves 4.