Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saucy tender-pork stir fry

I'm still extremely new to cooking meat in raw form. (Aside from frozen hamburger patties, crumbled bacon, and cured Italian meats, I have tended away from most meat in my home cooking.) But after I fell for pork ribs last year, and then cooked actual turkey for the first time last Thanksgiving, I started looking for more meaty recipes I'd enjoy.

My favorite meat dish growing up was a flanksteak stir-fry my mom makes; the meat is tender and juicy the way she prepares it. So I dug out the recipe card and tried it using some pork chop meat that I got on sale, and it worked just as well — as succulent as I remember. Here's my version:

12-14 oz pork chop strips (1/4 - 1/2" thick)

1 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp water
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp teriyaki sauce
1 tbsp white wine
1/2 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp peanut oil

another 2 tbsp peanut oil

1 1/2 cups brown rice (cooked volume)

6 oz broccoli florets
3 oz carrots, sliced
3 oz snow peas
(I use the 12 oz bag of pre-cut sitr-fry vegetables from Safeway to save time)

1/2 medium sweet onion, chunked
2/3 cup cashews

1/3 cup mushroom oyster sauce

1) Stir together the marinade ingredients, then add the pork. Let soak for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so in case the corn starch settles to the bottom. Just before cooking you'll add the 1 tbsp oil and stir well.

2) Cook your brown rice. (Assuming you're using an instant rice; otherwise you'll need to do this step first.)

3) Heat a dutch oven on medium-high heat, adding the 2 tbsp oil and waiting for it to start popping slightly. Add the meat and marinade mixture and stir constantly as the pork cooks, until you don't see any more pink on the outsides. (The insides may have a little pink still, but will cook through as the vegetables steam.)

A quick note here on stir fries: Traditionally these are cooked in a wok, but woks are not made to cook on a flat stove, but rather sit inside a hole where it's being blasted by flame from all angles, making the entire surface hot enough to cook. This allows you to cook everything very quickly while pushing it around. If you use a wok on a flat stove, usually only the bottom (which is small) gets really hot, and it's of no real advantage. Using a large-bottomed dutch oven on your biggest burner gives you the most super-hot surface area you'll get on a flat stove, I've found, even if it isn't even close to as quick as a real wok stir fry.

4) Reduce heat to medium. Add the vegetables, onions, and cashews to the pork, then drizzle on the mushroom oyster sauce (regular oyster sauce would of course work as well, but I'm addicted to Wan Ja Shan brand vegetarian oyster sauce). Stir, then cover, steaming vegetables for 5-7 minutes.

5) Add in the rice, stir again, and it's ready to serve. Makes enough for 4-6 people.


  1. I'm not very experienced (or skilled!) with meat yet either--but this looks yummy and you've explained everything so well (as usual), I might just have to give it a try! I'll add it to my Pinterest recipe board so I'll remember to put it on the menu soon :o).

  2. My problem is I'm always afraid of overcooking meat so it gets too dry and tough, or undercooking it and risking food poisoning. But this marinade really gives you a lot more leeway with potential overcooking. I've started using it (without soy sauce and teriyaki, but with added salt) for other dishes and am really liking it. Let me know if you get to the recipe and how it turns out!