Dinner in Minutes: Five-spice gives distinct flavor to pork

MONDAY, NOV. 7, 2011

The exciting flavors of Chinese cuisine are captured in this five-spice stir-fried pork.

Five-spice usually consists of ground cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, star anise and Szechuan peppercorns. It gives a pungent flavor to this quick dish.

The pork is accompanied by noodles and greens made with bok choy, a mild vegetable with a crisp, white stalk and dark green leaves. It can be found in the produce section of most supermarkets and can be eaten cooked or raw.

The secret to wok cooking at home is to make sure the wok is very hot – the oil should be smoking. Add about half the meat and wait several seconds for the wok to regain its heat before adding the rest.

Five-Spice Stir-Fried Pork

2 tablespoons rice vinegar (or white vinegar diluted with a little water)

1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons sesame oil

3/4 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch pieces

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 scallion, sliced (optional)

Mix vinegar, five-spice powder, garlic, soy sauce, water and cornstarch together.

Heat oil in a wok or skillet until smoking. Add the pork and let sit in the heat 1 minute. Toss to stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add sauce and stir-fry 1 minute to thicken.

Remove to a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle scallion over top, if using, and serve over Crispy Chinese Noodles and Greens.

Yield: 2 servings.

Nutrition per serving: 249 calories (31 percent from fat), 8.6 grams fat (1.9 gram saturated, 3.3 grams monounsaturated), 108 milligrams cholesterol, 36.6 grams protein, 3.8 grams carbohydrates, 0.4 gram fiber, 391 milligrams sodium.

Crispy Chinese Noodles and Greens

4 ounces steamed or fresh Chinese noodles (or dried Chinese noodles or angel hair pasta), about 2 cups

3 cups sliced bok choy (or Chinese or napa cabbage)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons sesame oil

Bring a large saucepan 3/4 full of water to a boil. Add the noodles and bok choy and boil 2 minutes. Drain and add salt and pepper to taste.

When the pork has been removed from the wok, add sesame oil to hot wok. When oil is smoking, add noodles and bok choy. Stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes or until noodles are crisp.

Spoon onto 2 plates and add pork, spooning sauce on top.

Yield: 2 servings.

Nutrition per serving: 273 calories (24 percent from fat), 7.3 grams fat (1.3 grams saturated, 2.5 grams monounsaturated), 48 milligrams cholesterol, 9.7 grams protein, 42.9 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 81 milligrams sodium.

Linda Gassenheimer is the author of 14 cookbooks. Visit her Web page at www.DinnerInMinutes.com.

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