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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