Stir-fried Pork and Asparagus with Garlic Black Bean Sauce

Cheap and

A quick and tasty stir-fry!

What with my wife Regina being of Chinese descent and me being half Vietnamese it’s hardly surprising that we cook a lot of Asian (and Asian-inspired) food at home. I whipped up this little stir-fry a few days ago. It was very quick, very easy to make, and absolutely delicious over a bowl of steamed rice with a dose of spicy sambal oeleck, that awesome chili paste of Indonesian origin popularized by Huy Fong Foods here in the U.S. With a little planning you can have this dish made in about 20 minutes (of actual work).

If you want to try this dish at home you’ll need (approximately):

  • 3/4 pound of pork shoulder
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger, divided
  • 2 tablespoons xao xing (Chinese cooking wine, although sherry is a fair substitute), divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper, plus more later
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more later
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 5 medium-thick asparagus spears
  • 6 fresh shiitake mushrooms (or dried mushrooms reconstituted in warm water)
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons garlic black bean sauce (Lee Kum Kee brand, if possible)
  • 2 tablespoons chicken broth
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped scallions

Now do this:

Cut the pork into rough cubes about 3/4 of inch on a side (don’t take this measurement too seriously). Put the pork into a non-reactive bowl and add 1 tablespoon of ginger, 1 tablespoon xao xing, minced garlic, corn starch, vegetable oil, white pepper, kosher salt, and soy sauce. Mix all the ingredients until the pork is very well coated in the marinade. Marinate the pork a minimum of 30 minutes; I get better results if I marinate it a couple of hours.

While the pork is marinating, prep your veggies. Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus and discard. Cut the asparagus at an angle into pieces oh, let’s say an inch-and-a-half in length. Stem the mushrooms and cut into quarters.

When you’re ready to cook, heat a wok (or a very large skillet) over high heat. When the wok just starts smoking swirl 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil into the bottom and add the pork. Stir-fry pork about three minutes until lightly browned all over. Remove cooked pork to a bowl and pour off (and discard) any excess oil. Wipe wok clean with paper towels and place over high heat again. When the wok starts smoking again add the remaining peanut oil. Add the asparagus and stir-fry about one minute. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry another 30 seconds. Add remaining ginger and stir it into the veggies. Add the cooked pork back into your wok. Get the wok super-hot again and add the remaining cooking wine. Stir-fry another 10 seconds and then add the black bean sauce and the chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the chopped scallions and turn off the heat.

Remove the stir-fry from the wok and place into a serving bowl. Serve with steamed rice and maybe some slices of fresh cucumber. Top with hot sauce of your choice (sambal oeleck is my preference for this dish) and soy sauce.

Enjoy!

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