Recipe for quick yet super tasty pork: Chinese Szechuan Pork

Szechuan Pork
Photo by Scott Eason

Pork tenderloin, the other white meat, can be as bland as the first, official white meat, chicken. But like chicken or especially tofu, it absorbs spices like it’s begging for them. Szechuan cuisine (aka Sichuan or Szechwan) is a type of spicy cooking developed in southwestern China. Unlike Americanized moo goo gai pan or wonton soup, Chinese Szechuan dishes offer super bold flavors calmed by the addition of peanuts or sesame (tahini pastes sometimes) and punctuated by hot peppers and pungent ginger. It’s Chinese food with a kick.

This recipe originated from Cooking Light Magazine but, as I frequently do, changed out or added ingredients which better suit my diet. Serve over buckwheat noodles, jasmine brown rice or quinoa. Takes about 15 minutes to prep and 6-7 minutes to stir-fry.

Serve with wine that has a tiny bit of sweetness like a white Rhone blend, an aromatic Riesling or Torrontes from Argentina

Szechuan Pork

2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 2-inch strips
1 Tablespoon chili garlic sauce (sold in the Asian aisle or at Asian grocery stores – read ingredients for sugar since they can be sweet)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 small red bell pepper, cut into strips (if you’re feeling spicy, throw in some hot peppers)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup beef or chicken broth (beef is better if you have it)
1 1/2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tablespoon peanut butter (look for peanut butter with two ingredients: peanuts, salt)
4-5 green onions, cut into 2-inch diagonals


1. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add pork, chili garlic sauce, and ginger to pan; stir-fry for 2 minutes.
2. Add bell pepper and mushrooms to pan; stir-fry 2 minutes. Add broth, soy sauce, and peanut butter. Reduce heat to low; cook for 1 minute or until sauce is slightly thick. Stir in onions. Serve over noodles, rice or quinoa.

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