Spicy Crispy Pork-y Stir-Fry

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This dish is a play on 닭강정 (dalgangjeong or dakgangjeong), that irresistible Korean snack food delicacy of spicy, savory, sweet, crispety, gingery fried chicken. I’ve used boneless country-style pork ribs cuz we lurrve pork but chicken would also work well or even tofu if you’re cooking vegan/vegetarian. Fans of spice will enjoy the savory 고추장 (gochujang) a chili paste made of dried chilies or chili powder, fermented soy beans, glutinous rice, salt, and usually sugar or some other sweetener. It really packs a nice oomph beyond just adding heat. I’ve made this more on the savory side so if you like the sweetness of most iterations of dakgangjeong, just add 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar. The ginger and garlic give you a nice zesty bite while the rice wine vinegar adds a sweet tang and the toasted sesame oil lends a certain smokiness but isn’t a deal breaker if you don’t have or can’t find toasted sesame oil. However, since it has 41% polyunsaturated fats and a lot of antioxidants, it’s not a bad thing to have in your arsenal, no? Along the lines of trying to decrease calories while retaining taste (and texture), I opted to stir-fry the pork with a crispy coating of potato starch instead of frying them and by mixing in the crispety pork with the hot sauce you get savory sweet spicy pork with a little crunch. And the asparagus? Why not? Searing them in the wok that retains a hint of sesame oil gives a great caramelized flavor to them while retaining their crisp-tender texture. Dinner in 30+ minutes and a little extra fiber? Who can say no to that?🙂

Easy peasy, so no tips🙂

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Ingredients
1 lb boneless pork ribs or pork shoulder roast, excess fat trimmed and in 1-inch cubes **substitute firm tofu in 1-inch cubes if cooking vegan/vegetarian
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 c potato starch (片栗粉 katakuriko)
1 + 1 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 bundle asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
3 tbsp (2 inches) crushed ginger
2 tsp (2 cloves) crushed garlic
1 tbsp gochujang
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp honey **substitute 2 tbsp light brown sugar if cooking vegan
2 tbsp unseasoned rice wine vinegar
Steamed rice

Season pork with salt and ground pepper. Coat with potato starch.

Heat 1 tbsp canola oil and sesame oil in a large wok or large skillet over med-hi heat till aromatic but not smoking. Brown pork in batches 2-3, ~2 minutes per side. Heroically resist the urge to crowd the wok and you will be rewarded with crispety pork instead of greyish steamed pork😦 Add additional 1 tbsp canola oil as needed while browning. Remove from skillet and spread out on a cooling rack covered with paper towels to blot out excess oil. If you don’t have a cooling rack you can also use a paper towel covered plate in a warming drawer/warm oven to keep the pork from steaming/losing its crunch.

Stir-fry asparagus in the same wok till lightly browned and crisp tender ~5 minutes. Remove from wok and set aside.

Sauté ginger and garlic till fragrant and golden ~1-2 minutes. Stir in gochujang, soy sauce, mirin, honey, and rice wine vinegar then reduce till the sauce is reduced by half.

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While the burner is still on return pork and asparagus to wok and coat with sauce. Serve over steamed rice. Makes 4 servings.

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About Cam

Enjoying the hippie life in Portlandia :)

4 comments

  1. Susan

    If you need a food tester, count me in!

  2. I saw your opening photo and smiled. The last time I made Sườn Xào Nước Mắm, I added some chopped asparagus to the pan. Granted, that and the pork are about the only things the 2 dishes have in common but, for a neophyte like myself, they sure look similar. 🙂
    I’m not so certain I’ll be making this dish, Cam. It may prove too spicy for me. I’ll have to see what supplies I can find at the market and let that decide whether I’ll make it. You’ve not led me wrong yet.

    • Cam

      Great minds think alike John, I usually can’t stop myself from tossing something green into my stir-fries🙂

      Actually, gochujang isn’t that horribly spicy, about the same as sriracha and some of the brands come in different spice levels. The jar I have is “medium” spicy ~ sriracha level. You could also just use 1-2 tsp and adjust your soy sauce if needed to make up for the difference in salt and umami-ness …. Just a thought. That’s the nice thing about stir-fries, they’re pretty free-flowing too, although I think you might just be addicted to fish sauce😉

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