For those who crave bold flavors, may I introduce Sesame Stir-Fried Pork with Shiitakes—a menu that came from our 177MilkStreet.com subscription. It uses kimchi, which we’ve enjoyed on numerous occasions but that you may not be familiar with. This recipe uses it as a one-stroke solution to add complex flavors to a simple dish—with fantastic results I might add.
But what is it exactly? Kimchi is made from a mix of salted vegetables, often napa cabbage and daikon radish, that’s seasoned with Korean chili powder, garlic, scallions and fish sauce or dried shrimp before being left to ferment. As an ingredient, it’s potent yet versatile, adding savory-sour flavor and spice. Raw, it also contributes nice crunch to a dish.
Pork is another main item and we were able to purchase a beautiful tenderloin at our favorite supermarket, already trimmed of any silver skin. Once cooked it was fork-tender. The recipe claims to feed six dinner guests. We beg to differ. Without increasing any of the ingredients (except the garlic 🙂 ), we ended up with three decent-sized portions. Perhaps if you served rice as a base and included a few sides, then you might get six…
For a final shot of flavor, the recipe incorporates toasted sesame oil—a staple ingredient in Korean and Japanese cooking. Stirred into the dish at the end, it adds a nuttiness that is rounded out with toasted sesame seeds for a bit more texture. An entire bunch of chopped scallions, half stirred into the warm pan, the other half sprinkled as a garnish, adds freshness and a pop of color.
Tip: Don’t finely chop the kimchi. Larger pieces better retain their texture and flavor.
Sesame Stir-Fried Pork with Shiitakes
- 1-lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin
- 2½ cups well-drained napa cabbage kimchi, roughly chopped, plus 2 tablespoons kimchi juice, divided
- 2½ Tbsp. soy sauce, divided
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 3 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided
- 8 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps sliced ¼ inch thick
- 3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 3 Tbsp. mirin
- 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
- 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
- Cut the tenderloin in half lengthwise, then slice each half crosswise about ¼ inch thick. In a medium bowl, stir together the pork, 1 tablespoon of the kimchi juice, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and ½ teaspoon pepper.
- In a 12-inch skillet (or wok) over high, heat 1 tablespoon of the grapeseed oil until beginning to smoke. Swirl to coat the pan, then add the pork and cook, stirring, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a clean bowl.
- In the same pan over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil until beginning to smoke. Add the mushrooms and ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid released by the mushrooms has mostly evaporated, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Return the pork to the pan with any accumulated juices and cook until the juices evaporate, 30 to 60 seconds.
- Add the kimchi, mirin, the remaining 1 tablespoon kimchi juice and the remaining 1½ tablespoons soy sauce. Reduce to medium and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until the kimchi is heated through, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the sesame oil, half of the sesame seeds and half of the scallions. Transfer to platter and sprinkle with the remaining scallions and sesame seeds.
Recipe by Dawn Yanagihara from 177 Milk Street