Peas are one of my favorite vegetables to grow. Just plant them near something they can attach to and watch them emerge from the earth, their tendrils climbing and clinging, eventually bearing bulbous pods filled with green pearls. I grow two varieties: classic shell peas and sugar snap peas, which I use mainly for stir-frying. But I love them raw too. They make a nice addition to a salad. Every now and then I'll pluck one from the bush and nibble on it while I'm out and about in the garden. Snap peas are crispy, sweet, and completely edible, pod and all. For me peas are the harbingers of spring going into summer.
This stir-fry recipe features sugar snap peas paired with tender pork, all enrobed in a Thai-style sauce that is sweet, spicy, and savory. Chicken or beef would also work wonderfully well in place of pork. To round out the dish, Jasmine rice simmered in coconut water makes a nice match. The sweetness of the coconut counterbalances the heat of the chile pepper. It's also lower in fat than coconut milk but just as flavorful. This simple and healthy stir-fry comes together in literally minutes, making it ideal for a quick meal for one hearty eater or two dainty ones.
Stir-fried Pork and Sugar Snap Peas
for the sauce:
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
for the stir-fry:
4 ounces pork tenderloin, thinly sliced
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces sugar snap peas, ends trimmed and stringed
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 small red chile pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 cup basil leaves, torn
1 tablespoon lime juice (about 1/2 lime)
coconut rice, recipe follows
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
To make the stir-fry sauce, combine rice wine, soy sauce, honey, fish sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil in a small bowl or measuring cup.
Season pork with salt and pepper and a splash of fish sauce. Let mariante for 5 to 10 minutes.
Warm a well-seasoned wok or nonstick saute pan over medium-high to high heat. Add about 1 tablespoon oil to very hot pan. Add pork and toss and turn until browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove pork to a plate.
Refresh wok with about 1 tablespoon oil. Add peas and toss until speckled with dark spots and color brightens, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and chile; sauté for 1 minute. Return pork to pan. Pour in sauce and stir to combine. Let reduce for about 3 minutes. Add basil and lime juice. Serve immediately over coconut rice along with lime wedges. Garnish with sesame seeds. Yield: 1 to 2 servings.
1/2 cup Jasmine rice
1 tablespoon canola oil
1-1/4 cup coconut water
1 teaspoon salt
Warm oil in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add rice and toast until opaque, about 3 minutes. Add coconut water and salt. Bring to boil, cover, and reduce to low simmer. Cook until rice has absorbed liquid and is tender, about 15 minutes. Yield: 1 to 2 servings.