Spice up meat with Chinese stir-fry


Small-town Connecticut in the late 1960s was no place to launch a culinary revolution, but there I was, refusing to eat the food my mother made for me.

My parents were perplexed: After all, weren't they providing the finest cuts of meat they could find? But that was the problem. Big slabs of meat served unadorned had lost their charm. I wanted something racier and exotic. I wanted cool food, and Chinese food was my ticket.

With the nearest takeout joint nearly 25 miles away and no wheels to speak of, I had to learn to cook Chinese on my own. This was no easy task. My local grocer sold mushrooms packed in cans and kept the soy sauce on a small dust-covered shelf reserved for such exotics as truffle paste and snail shells. But I kept at it.

This simple stir-fry is one of the first dishes I ever cooked. It's fast and versatile. I use pork here, but chicken, beef, shrimp and lamb could be substituted.


Frozen pot sticker dumplings are a snap to prepare, but feel free to opt for takeout from a Chinese restaurant.

Pork and Peppers Stir-Fry

Preparation time: 30 minutes; cooking time: about 12 minutes

Makes 4 servings

1/2 pound boneless pork loin or chops, trimmed, cut into strips

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more if needed

3 green onions, chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 piece (1-inch long) ginger root, minced

1 tablespoon chili sauce

1 each: yellow bell pepper, red bell pepper, cored, seeded, sliced into narrow strips

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced

1/4 pound pea pods, ends trimmed

white rice for serving

Marinate pork in soy sauce. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the onions, garlic, ginger and chili sauce to pan; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the pork; cook, stirring, until the meat is fully cooked, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove pork mixture from pan.

Add more oil to the pan if necessary. Stir in peppers and mushrooms; cook 2 minutes, tossing to coat the vegetables in oil. Add pea pods; cook, tossing occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.

Return the pork mixture to the pan; reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring, until all ingredients are warm, about 1 minute. Serve over rice.

Per serving (without rice): 204 calories; 11 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 33 milligrams cholesterol; 12 grams carbohydrate; 15 grams protein; 658 milligrams sodium; 3 grams fiber

- Recipe and analysis from the Chicago Tribune, a Tribune Publishing newspaper


Pot sticker dumplings

Pork and peppers stir-fry

White rice

Chinese beer

Ginger ice cream

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