It’s peak peach where we live. So while the local supply lasts, we’re using fresh peaches as often as we can. That means plenty of desserts, yeah. But peaches also shine in savory dishes.
Like this stir fry. Peaches pair particularly well with pork. When you add chili crisp? It makes a delightfully spicy dinner. And one that’s quick, so you can make it anytime.
Cause even weeknights should be special, no?
We make lots of stir-fry style dishes because, well, we like them. Plus they’re quick and straightforward to make. We particularly like to make them in the summer – they cook so quickly they don’t heat up the kitchen.
This recipe reminds us a bit of that Cantonese classic, Sweet and Sour Pork, but with a spicier and much less sweet flavor profile. And because we stir fry the pork, rather than deep fry it, our recipe is healthier and fresher tasting.
This dish is quick to make, though you may want to build in some lead time (mostly unattended). We recommend placing the pork in the freezer for about 30 minutes beforehand so it firms up and is easier to slice thinly. You’ll also need to let the pork marinate for at least 15 minutes.
Active prep time for this dish is 15 to 20 minutes. Cooking time adds maybe another 15 minutes.
This dish serves 2 or 3 as a main course. Cooked rice is the traditional accompaniment for stir fries, but we also like to use grits or polenta (we used grits when we made this to photograph).
- ~8 ounces boneless pork loin (preferably firmed up in the freezer – see headnote; or another cut of pork if you prefer – see Notes)
- ~2 teaspoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
- ~2 teaspoons soy sauce
- ~2 teaspoons cornstarch
- ~2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil
- ~1 tablespoon peeled fresh ginger, finely minced
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 red bell pepper, cored and diced into 1-inch pieces
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced (reserve a slice or two for garnish; see Notes)
- 1 bunch of scallions (whites and light-green parts), diced
- ~2 tablespoons chili crisp (see Notes)
- ~1 additional tablespoon soy sauce
- ~½ cup chicken stock (may substitute water; see Notes)
- ~2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 to 2 cups fresh peaches, diced (to taste; we opt for more rather than less)
- optional cornstarch slurry (1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water)
- cooked rice, grits, or polenta as an accompaniment (see headnote)
- optional garnish of jalapeño slices and/or green scallion rounds
- Remove the pork from the freezer, then cut it into thin slices (removing excess fat) and place it in a bowl. Add the rice wine or dry sherry, soy sauce, and cornstarch, then mix everything together to thoroughly coat the meat. Let the pork slices sit for at least 15 minutes to marinate.
- When ready to start the stir fry: Heat a large frying pan or wok over medium stovetop heat. When the pan is hot, add the cooking oil. When the oil has heated (about 15 seconds; it’ll shimmer), add the sliced pork. Stir fry the meat quickly until it’s cooked through (about 3 minutes, maybe 4). Remove the pork slices from the frying pan and let them drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Add more oil to the pan if necessary, then add the chopped ginger and garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds, then add the chopped red bell pepper, jalapeño, and scallions. Stir fry for about 3 minutes.
- Add the chili crisp, additional soy sauce, chicken stock, and rice vinegar. Stir to combine. Add the diced peaches and stir. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover the pan, and cook until the peaches are soft and beginning to break down (5 minutes or so).
- Remove the lid, taste, and adjust the amount of flavorings (chili crisp, soy sauce, rice vinegar) if necessary. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cornstarch slurry (if using). Use only as much as you need to thicken the sauce to your taste.
- Dish up over cooked rice, grits, or polenta. Add garnish, if you wish, and serve.
- Exact quantities aren’t critical in this dish. Feel free to change things around (even adding or eliminating ingredients if you prefer).
- We like to use pork loin for this dish because it’s tender and easy to cut into appropriate-sized pieces. We usually opt for boneless loin chops. Sometimes we cut a loin into cutlets of about an inch, then cut those into thin slices. But you can use any cut of pork you like for this dish (though other cuts may be a bit tougher).
- As noted above, partially frozen meat is easier to slice thinly. If you have frozen meat on hand, transfer it from the freezer to the refrigerator a day before you want to make this dish. It’ll probably still be frozen enough to slice thinly.
- How much meat to use? For a dish like this, we figure 3 to 4 ounces per person. But adjust to your own taste.
- We’ve used chili crisp for several dishes in the past. For those unfamiliar with it, it’s a spicy condiment with a bit of crunch (hence the “crisp”). It’s similar to an Asian chili sauce, but with more depth of flavor and less heat. In the US, it’s available in any Asian market and some supermarkets. Or you can buy it online. If it’s not available in your market (our readers in Australia have told us they can’t get it, unfortunately), substitute an Asian chili sauce (but use less, because it will be much spicier).
- This dish is spicy, but not overly so. If you want more heat, use another jalapeño or two. Or add a bit more chili crisp.
- We like the look of sliced jalapeño garnish, so we always reserve a couple of slices when we’re dicing the jalapeño.
- Dry sherry is similar in flavor to Chinese rice wine, and we often use it so we don’t have to buy an extra ingredient. If you don’t have sherry, just skip it (we’d use a bit of extra soy sauce in that case).
- We use rice vinegar in this dish because we’re going for a “sweet and sour” vibe. If you don’t have rice vinegar, you could use cider vinegar. Or just substitute dry sherry or rice wine.
- If you don’t have chicken stock on hand, just add a bit of water. We usually create a quick stock by adding a bit of chicken base to the cooking pan, then adding water. We stir a few times to dissolve the (pasty) chicken base.
- We like to use red bell pepper for color and flavor. But yellow or orange bell pepper would work too.
- About the scallions: After we trim off their root ends, we use all of the white parts and much of the green (we don’t use the last 2 to 3 inches of the dark green, which tends to be tough). We generally reserve some green scallion rounds for garnish.
- We use fresh peaches for this dish, and don’t bother to remove the skin when we’re dicing them. We haven’t tried frozen or canned peaches in this recipe, so don’t know how well they’d work.
- Want a sweeter dish? Add some honey or brown sugar when you add the chili crisp (Step 4).
- A slurry of cornstarch and water is excellent for thickening the sauce. We sometimes use it, sometimes don’t – it really depends on our mood, and how thick we want the sauce to be.
“Oink!” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “One of the best dishes we’ve made this year.”
“It’s peachy keen,” I said. “Easy to make, too. You might call it a wok in the park.”
“Snort,” said Mrs K R. “Sorry, must be the pork in this dish.”
“Glad this recipe is so quick,” I said. “So I don’t have to wok around the clock.”
“That comment may be an impeachable offense,” said Mrs K R.
Guess I better stop. Don’t want to be dead man wokking.
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I just love your conversation with Mrs.K and I like your dish. I’ve been wanting to cook more with pork loins.
It’s Gerlinde that made the comment before
Hi Anonymous, we love writing those endings! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Gerlinde, the Blogger comment interface has really gone downhill, hasn't it? It can be a real pain to use. :-(
I have only tried the combo of pork and pineapple, but haven't tried one made with peaches. What a fantastic dish, John.
Hi Angie, pork and pineapple is a classic combo, and really good. But this is better, we think. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Great flavor combination and perfect for summer.
Hi Dahn and Pat, such a great combo, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.
Another recipe of yours I am bookmarking. This sounds delicious!
Hi Anne, it's really, really good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
John, you had me a peaches and pork, before I saw all the other wonderful ingredients. What an amazing sounding dish! And the cornstarch does more than thicken the sauce—coating the pork with cornstarch as you do beforehand "velvets" the meat, a Chinese technique for tenderizing it. Must try this recipe. Thanks!
Hi Terry, you're right about the cornstarch in the marinade helping to tenderize the meat. And yes, you must try this -- super flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I have so many peaches right now that I don't know what to do with them all. I'll be making this!
Hi Ashley, having too many peaches isn't really a problem. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Fantastic! It's definitely peach season! I bought 1/2 bushel while in Greenville South Carolina. I've been eating them fresh and grilling them up for salads.
I am saving this recipe. As always, appreciate the inspiration you provide me.
Hi Velva, this is one of those recipes that you can change around so easily to make your own. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Great way to use peaches. I have never thought of using peaches in a savory dish. Love it.
Hi Dawn, it's really a neat dish. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love sweet summer peaches so much that it's hard not to just eat them all out of hand or to think primarily of using them in cobblers and pies. Thanks for the great reminder that they also make magic in savory dishes like this.
Hi Carolyn, for each peach we buy for a recipe, we always buy one for the cook. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Such a nice combination of flavours and texture, I love hints of sweetness with my meat
Hi Raymund, this is really an interesting blend of flavors. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Well, I'll have to be patient waiting for peaches awhile but absolutely love your recipe ! In Australia Cantonese cuisine has become a little retro these days - everyone madly cooks Sichuan, Shanghainese and Hainanese but, then most of our chefs teaching are SE Asian cooking Nonna's food ! And Korean and Vietnamese at the moment are the way to go . . . But this tastes good off the page ! When alone and especially currently I live on stirfries . . . boy, does it keep the fridge tidy !!!
I have 40 lb of peaches arriving at my doorstep pretty soon and I know I'll be looking for new recipes and this fits the bill. The chili crisp is the sweet spot for me, ever since I tried it John I want to add a little bit to a lot of things!
We love quick summer dishes like this, particularly ones that use what’s in season, like peaches. I usually buy a bunch and grill them up for the freezer, so nice to have grilled peaches in the middle of winter.
Hi Eha, I think it's pretty similar these days in the US, particularly in California. But we love almost any flavor, no matter where it originates. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Anonymous, chili crisp is so awesome, isn't it? If you try this dish, we think grits are wonderful with it. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Eva, we should freeze grilled peaches! We always freeze roasted and peeled Hatch peppers, but we have room for other stuff, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.
That looks like a great dish! Pork goes so well with fruits, and especially with yummy summer peaches!
Hi Evelyne, it's really, really good. :-) And agree about pork and fruit -- terrific combo. Thanks for the comment.
I haven't seen local peaches around here yet, but I did buy a few in the supermarket yesterday for the first time this season. Your recipe looks very interesting and I'm sure the peaches bring out some wonderful flavors in this dish.
Hi Judee, we love peaches in savory dishes! The depth of flavor they add is incredible. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi R, really, really good. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Peaches and Pork? Aren't they a married couple who solve murder mysteries while exchanging sharp and smart repartee. No that's a not nearly as delicious Nick and Nora. GREG
Hi Greg, I recently reread the _Thin Man._ Good book, of course, but this is an instance where I think the movie is better. But either one is peachy. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Sounds yummy! It's peach season around here, too, and I just bought some this morning at our local farmers market. And I've got a pork loin sitting in the freeze as well as the rest of the ingredients including the chili crisp. This must be fate calling me!
What a great combo (especially with the jalapenos). I need to get some fresh peaches in my kitchen as soon as I am able.
Hi Frank, fate's fickle that way, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Debra, you definitely do need to get some peaches! Ours have been great this year. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I'm a huge fan of sweet and savoury dishes, so this is my kind of meal. I've only paired pork with apples, pears, and mangoes before - so peaches should be next!
Hi Ben, you'll love peaches with pork! :-) Thanks for the comment.
I skipped the farmers' market last weekend, but it looks like I need to go and check out their peaches. What a yummy summer meal!
Hi Liz, isn't this yummy? Really fun dish. :-) Thanks for the comment.
We do a lot of stirfries as well. they are great for so many reasons besides just being tasty. I love a stirfry with pork and yours looks fabulous. Have saved for later. Thanks!
Hi MJ, this is really good -- I predict you'll like. :-) Thanks for the comment.
we don't eat pork chez Pickings but this sounds good for the pork eaters of the world :-)
Hi Sherry, easy to substitute another protein, although pork and peaches are delightful together. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love the idea of fruit -- especially peaches -- in a stir fry. I haven't been able to get enough peaches this summer. They've been amazing. :-) ~Valentina
Hi Valentina, our local peaches have been terrific this year! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Pairing fruit and meat is so underrated. Peaches are an awesome companion to pork.
Hi Laura, we love pork and fruit! Really good combo. :-) Thanks for the comment.
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