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