Stir-frying is the name of the game when you want something quick and healthy. And making it yourself ensures you know exactly what’s in it, as compared to many Asian take-out places loaded with unwanted fat and calories. Cook’s Illustrated found that marinating pork tenderloin in a simple soy-sherry mixture and cooking it quickly (about two minutes) in batches over high heat kept the meat tender and beautifully seasoned. In place of the sherry, we substituted Shaoxing wine which is fermented from rice.
Because different vegetables cook at different rates, batch-cook the vegetables and add aromatics (like ginger and garlic) at the end so they are cooked long enough to develop their flavors but not long enough to burn. Chicken broth gives the sauce some backbone, and cornstarch slightly thickens it so that it lightly cloaks the meat and veggies.
We increased the amount of pork tenderloin from the original 12 ounces to one pound. And because of that, we doubled the soy sauce and sherry that gets mixed with the pork strips (which is all noted below). Keep in mind that pork tenderloin is easier to slice if it is partially frozen. *Freeze the tenderloin until firm but not frozen solid, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Then cut the tenderloin crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Cut the slices into 1/4-inch strips.
Stir-frying isn’t rocket science, and that’s what’s so great about it. It doesn’t require lots of fancy equipment. Instructions indicate to cook in a skillet, however we feel most stir-fries benefit from being cooked in a flat-bottomed wok. It helps to have a stir-fry spatula which fits the contour of the wok and has a long handle (to keep distance from the intense heat).
Stir frying is advantageous over other methods of cooking as it requires very little oil, which is healthier than deep frying or pan frying, and it also retains the nutrients present in the food being stir fried. As the name indicates, the food is constantly stirred while you cook it. Make sure to use an oil with a high smoke point such as peanut, canola, safflower, soybean, etc.
Stir-Fried Pork, Green Beans and Red Bell Pepper with Gingery Oyster Sauce
- 1 lb. pork tenderloin, prepared as noted above*
- 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. dry sherry, or Shaoxing wine
- 1 Tbsp. dry sherry, or Shaoxing wine
- ⅓ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 ½ Tbsp. oyster sauce
- 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp. rice vinegar
- ¼ tsp. ground white pepper
- 1 tsp. cornstarch
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 2 inch piece fresh ginger, grated (about 2 tablespoons)
- 3 Tbsp. peanut oil or vegetable oil
- 12 oz. green beans, cut on bias into 2-inch lengths
- 1 large red bell pepper (about 8 ounces), cut into 3/4-inch squares
- 3 medium scallions, sliced thin on bias
- Jasmine rice, cooked according to package directions (or brown rice if you prefer)
- Combine pork, soy sauce, and 1 Tbsp. + 1 teaspoon sherry in small bowl. Whisk remaining 1 tablespoon sherry, chicken broth, oyster sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, white pepper, and cornstarch in measuring cup.
- Combine garlic, ginger and 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil in small bowl.
- Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until smoking; add half of pork to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up clumps, until well-browned, about 2 minutes.
- Transfer pork to medium bowl. Repeat with additional 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil and remaining pork.
- Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil to now-empty skillet; add green beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until spotty brown and tender-crisp, about 5 minutes; transfer to bowl with pork.
- Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to skillet; add bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until spotty brown, about 2 minutes.
- Clear center of skillet, then add garlic/ginger mixture to clearing; cook, mashing mixture with spoon, until fragrant, about 45 seconds, then stir mixture into peppers.
- Add pork and green beans; toss to combine. Whisk sauce to recombine, then add to skillet; cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened and evenly distributed, about 30 seconds.
- Transfer to serving platter; sprinkle with scallions and serve over hot jasmine rice.
Adapted from a recipe by Cook’s Illustrated