Pork Stir-Fry with Sesame Oil

Sunday, 7 August 2011

I stir-fry pork with sesame oil. So did my mother, my mother's mother, my mother's mother's mother . . .

I'm guessing that since sesame oil was invented discovered in China –  supposedly some 2,300 years ago during the Three Kingdoms period – Chinese have been cooking pork in it one way or another. 

The version I make is with garlic, ginger, light soya sauce, oyster sauce, Shaoxing wine and salt. I've done it so many times I can practically do it with my eyes closed.

At various points in my life when I lived on instant noodles, the classic stir-fry was a long-term resident in my fridge. When I was hungry, all I had to do was boil some noodles, chuck some of the pork in the pot, add a few green leaves, and  breakfast/lunch/dinner/supper was ready.

I ate enough to last a lifetime, which is why I don't stir-fry pork with sesame oil nowadays . . . except once in a blue moon. It may be a bit same old same old, but I still treasure an occasional visit from the familiar friend – for old times' sake, you know?

A classic is a classic for good reason.

(Recipe for 4 persons)

300 g pork (shoulder butt, or tenderloin if you're a tenderloin person)
. . . wash, drain and cut bite size across the grain about 2 mm thick
1 tbsp light soya sauce
½ tsp dark soya sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
½ tbsp Shaoxing wine
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp water
1 tsp white sesame oil
½ tbsp cornflour

1 tbsp white sesame oil
⅓ cup julienned ginger
3 cloves garlic, peel and mince roughly
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
3 tbsp water
¼ tsp black sesame oil, or white if not available

Mix pork with light and dark soya sauce, oyster sauce, wine, salt and 2 tbsp water till absorbed. Drizzle with 1 tsp white sesame oil and mix through. Leave to marinate 15 minutes or longer. Sprinkle with cornflour and mix through.

Heat 1 tbsp white sesame oil till very hot. Add ginger and stir-fry over high heat till lightly golden. Add garlic and stir-fry, also till lightly golden. Add pork, minus marinade if any. Stir fry till pork is almost cooked. Drizzle with 1 tbsp wine and remaining marinade if any. Stir through. Drizzle with 2 tbsp water. Stir to deglaze wok. Drizzle with another 2 tbsp water. Bring to a gentle simmer. Pork should now be just cooked. There should be just enough sauce for the pork to sit in and stay nicely moist. Add a bit more water or simmer gently to reduce as necessary. Do not overcook or pork would be tough.

Taste and quickly adjust seasoning if necessary. Turn off heat. Drizzle with sesame oil. Plate and serve hot or at room temperature with steamed rice or plain Teochew porridge. Also good as topping for noodles in soup.


Blur Ting said...

I've not mastered the art of cooking pork. Gonna give your recipe a try. I should get it right this time.

Oh, one question for you. I buy pork from the wet market and the guy doesn't speak English. How do I tell him which cut to buy in Teochew or Mandarin?

KT said...

Click here, print it, bring it to your butcher and point! Hahahaha . . . .

In wet market lingo, shoulder butt (or shoulder collar on the website above) is 五花肉. Ask for the head, which is more marbled and tender than the tail. Some restaurants serve something called 猪頸肉 (pork neck), which is just 五花肉 cleverly rebranded.

If you prefer tenderloin, that's 梅肉. It's very tender and very lean. But it dries out at the tiniest hint of overcooking. 五花肉 is more forgiving because it has more fat.

Note: In Greater China, 五花肉 is pork belly which is, of course, not suitable for stir-frying.

Blur Ting said...

Hi KT, I bought a piece yesterday (before reading your reply). I pointed to my shoulder and said, I want this part. And he told me it is 五花肉! Hehe, sign language works!

KT said...

I'm sure you were an excellent stand-in for the real McCoy. ;-)

Shirley said...

Just wanna say thank you! Today is the 4th time i am referring to your recipe! I tried cooking this dish many times because my late grandmother has been cooking this for me since young but i just couldn't get the taste. Your recipe just give me the perfect taste to my grandmother' ssesame oil pork. This is absolutely my fav dish to go with rice and i never get sick of it. It's just so appetizing to go with rice.

chefnotbychoice said...

Once again, your recipe works. Delicious. Thumbs up!

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