Don’t you love a good stir-fry?
The following stir-fried pork recipe couldn’t be easier. All you need is lean pork, some green onions, and garlic. You marinate thin strips of pork first in a mixture of soy sauce, a little sugar, and cornstarch.
The cornstarch marinade is a useful trick to help keep the pork from drying out when it gets cooked on that high heat. The sugar is just enough to create some caramelization for added flavor.
It helps but isn’t necessary to have a well seasoned wok. Years ago I had this big wok with wooden handles, well seasoned, in spite of a housemate’s attempt one day to scour off all of the pan’s beautiful black seasoning I had worked so hard to create.
I don’t know what eventually became of that wok; these days I’m using a non-stick enamel cast iron wok. It does a great job with high heat, it’s stick-free and I don’t have to worry about it rusting.
The good thing about stir-fries is that you don’t need a lot of fancy ingredients to have a perfectly presentable dish. All you need is a pan and a cooking oil that can take high heat. Woks work well for this, as do large pans of cast iron or hard anodized aluminum.
Consider this recipe a base for experimentation, though it is satisfying enough, unadorned. You could easily add some chile to the hot oil, or ginger, red bell pepper, mushrooms, or water chestnuts to the pork. Sprinkle on some fresh cilantro or toasted sesame seeds for a garnish too if you would like.
The base recipe is adapted from one in The Cultural Revolution Cookbook by Sasha Gong and Scott Seligman.
Recipe and photos updated; first published 2013
- 1 pound pork loin or boneless pork chops
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce (use gluten-free soy sauce if cooking gluten-free)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 4 Tbsp peanut oil or other high smoke point oil (canola, rice bran, or grape seed)
- 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 8-12 scallions/green onions, sliced diagonally into 1 to 2-inch pieces, green and white parts included
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
1 Pound thin the pork chops, then cut into strips: Pork chops tend to come in thicknesses either around 1/2 inch thick or an inch thick. If you are working with a thick boneless pork chop, start by slicing it into two thin layers, horizontally. If starting with pork loin, cut slices 1/2 inch thick.
Put the slices under some plastic wrap or wax paper and pound them thin with a rubber mallet, meat mallet or even an empty wine bottle. This will help tenderize the meat. The slices should be about 1/4 inch thick.
Cut the pork across the grain into thin strips, about 1 1/2 inches long.
2 Marinate 10 min in soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch: Put the soy sauce, sugar, and cornstarch into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the pork strips to the bowl with the marinade and toss to coat completely. Set aside for at least 10 minutes.
3 Stir fry pork strips on high heat: Heat the peanut oil in a wok or large sauté pan on high heat. When the oil is hot (shimmering but not smoking) add the garlic slices and stir-fry until they begin to turn brown at the edges, about 30 seconds.
Add the pork strips and stir-fry until the pork changes color, about 90 seconds, stirring constantly.
4 Add in green onions, sesame oil: Add the sliced green onions and continue to stir-fry for another minute, or until the green onions wilt. Turn off the heat and stir in the sesame oil, if using.
Serve immediately. Serve alone (paleo and low carb), or with rice.