Friday, May 14, 2010

Stir-Fried Cucumber and Pork with Golden Garlic

Stir-Fried Cucumber and Pork with Golden Garlic

Makes 3 servings
1/2 cup (125 mL) peanut or vegetable oil

3 to 5 large cloves garlic

12 oz (340 g) boneless lean pork shoulder or butt

2- to 3-inch (5- to 7.5-cm) piece ginger root

1 large (seedless) English cucumber

11/2 tsp (7 mL) cornstarch

1 tbsp (15 mL) low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 tsp (1 mL) sugar

3/4 tsp (3 mL) salt

1 tbsp (15 mL) cold water
Line a plate with paper towels. Heat the oil in a 14-inch (35-cm) flat-bottomed wok or small saucepan over medium heat, or as needed, so the oil reaches a temperature of 280 F (138 C). (Make sure the tip of the thermometer does not touch the wok or saucepan.)

Coarsely chop the garlic. Trim off and discard any fat from the pork, then cut the meat into 1/4-inch (6-mm) or bite-size slices. Peel the ginger and cut it crosswise into 8 coin-size slices, then use the broad, flat side of a knife to smash each one. Trim off the ends of the cucumber, then use a vegetable peeler to cut away long strips of peel, creating a striped effect. Cut the cucumber on the diagonal into 1/4-inch (6-mm) slices.

Add the garlic to the hot oil and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until the garlic is just golden. Use a metal skimmer to transfer the garlic to the paper-towel-lined plate. Strain the oil into a heatproof container.

Combine the pork, cornstarch, half of the soy sauce, the sugar and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) of the salt in a medium bowl; toss to coat evenly. Combine the remaining soy sauce and the water in a separate small bowl.

If you used the wok to heat the oil, wash and dry it thoroughly before placing it over high heat. Or heat a 12-inch (30-cm) skillet (not nonstick) over high heat.

Swirl in 2 tbsp (30 mL) of the reserved garlic oil, then add the ginger. Stir-fry for 30 seconds or until the ginger becomes fragrant. Push it to the sides of the wok or skillet, then add the pork in a single layer. Cook undisturbed for 1 minute so the pork sears, then stir-fry for 1 minute, until the meat is seared but not fully cooked through.

Add the cucumber and stir-fry for 30 seconds, making sure it is well incorporated, then sprinkle on the remaining 1/2 tsp (2 mL) of salt and the soy sauce-water mixture. Stir-fry for 1 minute or until the pork is cooked through and the cucumber has begun to wilt.

Stir in the reserved garlic and remove from the heat. Divide among individual bowls; serve immediately.

Approximate nutrition per serving: 280 calories, 16 g fat, 26 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 0 g fibre

-- adapted from Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, by Grace Young

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