spicy pork and cashew stir-fry
When I first prepared this spicy pork stir fry in early August, it was so tasty that I was kicking myself for allowing the recipe to gather dust in my (huge) “to try” recipe file for so long. Now I’m applying extra kicks for letting it sit in my draft folder since summer – it’s next to impossible to locate snow peas around here during the fall. At some point this winter, I may spy a tiny basket of sad, wilted snow peas at the market, but I haven’t had any luck at all lately – I’ve scouted the produce and freezer sections at several different grocery stores to no avail.
Back in August, I had crisp, fresh snow peas from mom and dad’s garden, and I was craving a stir fry dish with some heat to it. After cooking up a pretty underwhelming Kung Pao Chicken the week before, I recalled this little gem of a recipe. And I’m really really glad I did – this dish immediately attained better-than-takeout status, like the previously posted Red Chicken Curry. The pork is super tender, the vegetables are crunchy, and the cashews add just enough salt and texture.
While I am lamenting my failure to freeze snow peas when I had access to so many fresh ones, I’ll also be keeping my eyes peeled for even marginally healthy looking peas every time I’m in the produce aisle.
Spicy Pork and Cashew Stir-Fry
Adapted from Gourmet, February 2001
Yields 4 servings
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
6 tablespoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
3/4 lb boneless pork loin, thinly sliced, then cut into 2- by 1/4-inch strips
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
4 teaspoons garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch thick strips, cut strips into thirds
1/2 lb snow peas, trimmed and cut in half
1 cup salted roasted cashews
rice, for serving
- Stir together rice vinegar, cornstarch, and 2 tablespoons soy sauce, then stir in sesame oil. Add pork, stirring to coat, and let stand 10 minutes.
- Stir together sugar and remaining 4 tablespoons of soy sauce.
- Heat large nonstick skillet or wok over high heat until a bead of water dropped on the cooking surface evaporates immediately. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, swirling skillet to coat evenly. Stir-fry 2 teaspoons ginger, 2 teaspoons garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, about 5 seconds. Add bell pepper and stir-fry for approximately 2 minutes. Add snow peas and cashews and stir-fry until snow peas are crisp tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer vegetables to a bowl.
- Heat remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil in the skillet until just smoking, then stir-fry remaining ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes for about 5 seconds. Add pork and stir-fry, separating strips, until browned and barely cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Add vegetables and sweetened soy sauce, then stir-fry until vegetables are just heated through, about 1 additional minute.
- Serve with rice.