I don’t think I’ve ever made the same stir-fry twice. It’s one of those wonderful things you can make no matter what ingredients are lingering around your kitchen, threatening to spoil before you figure out what to do with them. I dare you to think of something you couldn’t put in a stir-fry.
Actually wait, don’t do that… I know such things exist. But ruling out the obvious no-gos (let’s save the Nutella and puff pastry dough for another time), there are seemingly endless stir-fry combinations you could throw into that wok.
For this round, I used some veggies that I pretty much always have on hand with what has become my go-to stir-fry sauce. The sauce came about one night years ago when I was out of store bought sauce (what was I thinking buying that stuff anyway?) but really wanted stir-fry. So I went to the pantry, threw a few things in a measuring cup, and loved the result. Especially with pork. You probably have all the ingredients for the sauce, but there’s one you might not expect: tahini. You see, I usually pour obscene amounts of toasted sesame seeds on to the finished stir-fry. The tahini adds another level of sesame flavor, allowing me to lay off the seeds a bit.
If you’re new to stir-frying, there are a few things to keep in mind. Get your pan ridiculously hot. Try to chop your vegetables a similar size and shape so they cook in the same time. And the one I had to learn the hard way (over and over): have everything prepped before you put a single thing in the wok. So many times I thought I’d be able to finish chopping a few veggies while the meat cooked, or make the sauce while the veggies cooked, but it always turns into a frenzy of mismanagement. With everything ready beforehand, the cooking process will be simple and wrapped up in less than 10 minutes.
Spicy Pork Stir Fry
Feel free to experiment here, especially with the heat. I'd say this is far from a 10 on the spicy scale - just hot enough to make you feel alive, but it won't send you running for the milk. If you want it spicier, you could add a few dashes of Sriracha to the sauce. For a milder version: instead of slicing the serrano chile whole, cut in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and ribs, which contain the most heat.
- 1 tablespoon chili, peanut or other veggie oil
- 3/4 pound pork chops or pork cutlets, sliced into strips
- 3 medium carrots, thinly sliced on an angle
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced on an angle
- 1 medium green bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup frozen peas
- 1 (8oz) can water chestnuts, sliced
- 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 serrano chile, thinly sliced
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari, divided
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 cup water
- Cooked rice, for serving
Top with extra scallions, cilantro, and sesame seeds, if desired.
- Marinate the pork in 2 tablespoons soy sauce while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Once the produce is chopped, heat the wok or a large skillet over high heat until very hot. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup soy sauce, hoisin sauce, tahini, cornstarch, sesame oil, and water. Whisk until very well combined.
- Swirl 1 tablespoon chili oil in the wok to coat; add the pork. Cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink and slightly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.
- Add another tablespoon of oil to the wok if needed. Add the carrots, celery, and bell pepper; season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until nearly cooked through, 2-3 minutes. Add the peas and water chestnuts. Add garlic and ginger, cooking until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the chile, cook for an additional 30 seconds.
- Pour in the prepared sauce, stir, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let cook for a minute. Turn off the heat, add the scallions, cilanto, and sesame seeds. Serve over rice.