Spicy and wonderfully flavored, this Szechuan (or Sichuan) pork comes together fast and is great for weekday meals. With crunchy carrots, ginger and orange juice, you can have it ready in 30 minutes!
Trying to get out of my flavor comfort zone, I decided to make this Szechuan Pork. Or Sichuan pork as this flavorful spice is also written.
I order take-out a lot, mostly Chinese, so an Asian dish made in the wok fitted right into my weekday dinner ideas. Easy, fast and super flavorful!
What are Szechuan or Sichuan peppercorns?
It is a spice originating from the same-name province in China (image above).
It is very unique in flavor as it creates a sort of numbness after a while. That sensation is unfamiliar but it adds a quality, unlike other peppers.
It is spicy but different than hot peppers, fragrant and sort of citrusy sometimes. Very, very unique.
I have to say that my first time eating Szechuan or Sichuan peppercorns I'm hooked.
Preparing the pork.
I love to coat the bite-sized pork pieces with a cornmeal mixture before adding them to the wok (image above).
This adds crunchiness to each bite.
- Lightly toasting the peppercorns: heat opens the flavors of spices, so this step allows for a deeper Szechuan flavor.
Steps for making this recipe.
- Heat the wok over medium/high heat.
- Add a tablespoon of oil (not to the bottom but in a circular motion at the top of the wok walls. That way the oil will reach the bottom of the wok hot.
- Add the pork pieces and lightly cook until lightly seared or sauteed. Some pink parts might remain (image above). Transfer to a bowl and reserve.
- Add the carrots and leek to the same wok (image below) and cook until lightly softened about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and reserve.
- Add garlic, ginger and rest of ingredients (except for rice) and cook until softened and soy sauce is somewhat reduced.
- Add pork pieces and carrots back again to the wok and cook until no pink remains in the meat and the carrots are crunchy but soft enough to eat.
This is the kind of wok recipe that comes together fairly quickly, even though there is chopping and a reasonable list of ingredients involved. In my case I have all of them usually in my pantry and my fridge.
While the rice was cooking I made the pork.
And since recipes are at least for 2, I now have an effortless dinner at hand. I wonder what the Chinese restaurant will think of my absence. I'll worry about it while enjoying this sweet and spicy szechuan pork and carrots.
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Spicy and wonderfully flavored, this Szechuan pork comes together fast and is great for weekday meals. With crunchy carrots, ginger and orange juice, you can have it ready in 30 minutes!
- Vegetable or light olive oil
- 2 teaspoons szechuan peppercorns
- 2 Tbs cornmeal
- 12 oz. pork tenderloin (cut into bite size pieces)
- 2 medium carrots (cut into sticks)
- 1 small leek (sliced)
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 Tbs minced fresh ginger
- 3 Tbs soy sauce
- 2 Tbs honey
- 3 Tbs orange juice
- 3 Tbs mirin (cooking sake)
- Chopped green onions or chives, for garnish
- 2 cups cooked white rice, to serve (I use Jazmin rice)
- Heat a wok over low heat, add peppercorns and cook until fragrant, about 1 minutes.
- Transfer to a bowl, add salt to taste and lightly mix. You can mash it with the back of a spoon to extract more flavor.
- Transfer to a medium bowl, add cornmeal and then add the pork pieces.
- Coat meat with the peppercorn mixture and reserve.
- Heat the wok over high heat.
- Add 2 Tbs oil aroung the edges and cook carrots and leek until beginning to brown, 3 or 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and reserve.
- Add a few more Tbs oil to the wok, add pork and cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the plate with the carrots.
- Add ginger and garlic to the wok, sauté 1 minute and add soy sauce, honey, orange juice and mirin. Cook until sauce is somewhat syrupy.
- Add meat and vegetables and cook for 1 or 2 minutes.
- Divide rice between two bowls or plates.
- Add pork mixture on top, dividing evenly.
- Garnish with green onions and serve.
When using a wok always add oil or liquids around the edges, so they reach the middle already hot.
Keywords: szechuan pork, sichuan pork