Sichuan Stir-Fried Pork in Garlic Sauce

April 12, 2012

I have always dreamed of having the dish-washing arrangement where I would be gently told after making a delicious dinner, “s/he who cooks doesn’t need to wash the dishes.” OK, right, all dreaming aside. I wash my own dishes and always strive to minimize the mess, which is why I clean up as much as possible during the cooking process whenever I have a free moment. The problem with the original recipe as published was that I was expected to dirty at least 6 bowls. I re-used bowls whenever possible (of course being cognizant not to re-use anything that had raw or partially cooked meat), and was able to reduce that down to 4 bowls; the first two are medium and the second two are small.

A long list of ingredients make for a delicious meal

The dinner itself was delicious. The pork was perfectly cooked; tender, juicy and flavorful. The combination of vegetables may have been a little light; only celery and mushrooms, but they were also perfectly cooked. Much better than take-out; 4-stars.

Comments:

  1. While the ingredient list seems long, most of the list is just dumped once into the sauce. Many of the more unusual ingredients are the same ones Chris Kimball’s uses in all his Asian recipes, so I already had the fish sauce, toasted sesame oil and Sriracha sauce in my kitchen
  2. My supermarket sells shiitake mushrooms in 3-1/2 ounce pre-packaged containers. So I made up the short-fall with portabello mushrooms because I didn’t want to spend the extra $3.50 for another package.
  3. I’d recommend that you start cooking your rice while,in step 2, the pork is still sitting for 15 minutes. Chris Kimball often just says “serve with rice”, but I sometimes forget until the end when it’s too late.

Rating: 4 stars.
Cost: $10
How much work? Low/Medium.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Start time 5:00 PM. Ready at 5:50 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. My descriptions of how I prepare it are given below:

Sauce:
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons Chinese black vinegar (2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar and 2 teaspoons of rice vinegar)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoons ketchup
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Pork:
12-oz boneless country-style pork ribs , trimmed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup cold water
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Stir-Fry:
4 garlic cloves
2 scallions
2 tablespoons Asian broad-bean chili paste (substitute 2 teaspoons of Asian chili-garlic paste or Sriracha sauce)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
6-oz shiitake mushrooms
2 celery ribs

  1. Add all sauce ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk together, then set aside.
  2. Slice pork into 2″-lengths and cut into 1/4″-thick by 2″ strips. Put in second medium bowl and add baking soda and water. Allow to sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, begin to cook your rice. Also remove the mushroom stems and slice them thinly. Cut the celery on a 45-degree bias into 1/4″ slices.
  4. Rinse pork in cold water and use paper towels to dry. You are just trying to remove the water, not drying them so that they caramelize in the pan.
  5. Whisk rice wine and cornstarch in the pork’s bowl. Return pork to bowl and toss to cover evenly.
  6. Slice scallions and separate into two piles of greens and whites, then mince the whites. Add the white part of the scallions to a small bowl (third bowl), press garlic cloves directly into bowl and add chili paste. Stir to combine.
  7. Place a 12″ non-stick skillet over high burner. Add 1 tablespoon oil and pre-heat until the oil begins to smoke. Add sliced mushrooms and cook for 4 minutes until they become tender; stir often.
  8. Add celery and continue cooking for 3 to 4 more minutes. Set vegetables aside into a fourth bowl.
  9. Return skillet over burner, reduce to medium-low. Add 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, and allow to pre-heat for 30 second. Add the garlic/scallion/chili-paste mixture to skillet and saute for just 30 seconds.
  10. Remove 1 tablespoon garlic/scallion/chili-paste mixture to a small bowl (same bowl that contained the mixture before sauteing) and set aside.
  11. Increase  burner to medium, and add pork to skillet and saute for 5 minutes. Cook until it is no longer pink, but remember that it will continue to cook in Step 12.
  12. Give the sauce mixture from Step 1 a whisk to recombine the ingredients, then add to the pork already in the skillet. Increase burner to high and saute for 2 more minutes. Mix the vegetables back into the skillet and allow everything to re-heat.
  13. Place on individuals plates or a large serving platter. Evenly spread the sliced scallion greens and the garlic/scallion/chili oil. Serve with white rice.

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