Szechuan-Style Pork with Peanuts

This is a pork version of a classic Szechuan Chinese dish that is usually made with chicken. It is quick and easy to make and is quite savoury — as is to he expected from any Szechuan recipe. The pork is quite robust enough to stand up to the various seasonings, while the peanuts add a wonderful textural quality to the dish. Serve it with plain rice and another vegetable dish for a complete meal.

Ingredients

  • 450 g (1 lb) boneless pork chops
  • 1½ tablespoons groundnut or peanut oil
  • 1 dried red chilli, split lengthways
  • 75 g (3 oz) raw peanuts, shelled

For the Marinade

  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour

For the Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons Chicken Stock or water
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic
  • 1½ tablespoons finely chopped spring onions
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh root ginger
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese black rice vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Method

Cut the pork into 2.5-cm (1-in) cubes. Combine the pork with the light soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry, sesame oil and cornflour.

Heat a wok or large frying-pan over a high heat. Add the oil and, when it is hot, add the chilli and stir-fry for a few seconds. (You may remove it when it turns black or leave it in; leaving it in will make the flavour stronger.) Add the peanuts and stir-fry them for 1 minute. Remove the peanuts from the wok and reserve.

Lift the pork from the marinade with a slotted spoon, add to the wok and stir-fry for 3 minutes or until the pork is lightly browned. Remove the pork and drain in a colander.

Wipe the wok clean and put all the sauce ingredients, except the sesame oil, into the wok. Bring the sauce to a boil and then turn the heat down. Return the pork to the wok and cook for about 2 minutes in the sauce, mixing well all the time. Finally, return the peanuts and add the sesame oil, give the mixture a good stir and serve immediately.

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