If you’re a fan of flavorful and nutritious dishes, then you’re in for a treat with this easy and homestyle pork and shiitake mushroom stir fry. In Chinese cuisine, stir-frying meat with seasonal vegetables is a beloved tradition. This particular mushroom pork stir fry is a national favorite, especially among children. Despite the absence of extra spices and herbs, the dish is bursting with rich flavor and nutritional value. The tender and juicy meat combined with the delicate earthy aroma of shiitake mushrooms is simply irresistible. If you’re a mushroom lover, this dish is a must-try.
How to Prepare Shiitake Mushrooms
When it comes to cooking fresh mushrooms, it’s important not to soak them in water. Fresh mushrooms have a tendency to absorb water quickly, which can make them soggy and affect their texture. Instead, remove any dirt from the mushrooms and either wrap them in a wet cloth or quickly rinse them under running water if necessary. For stir-frying recipes, cut the mushrooms into similar-sized pieces to ensure even cooking.
How to Velvet Pork for Stir-Frying
The key to perfect Chinese stir-frying lies in the marinating process. Here’s how to velvet the pork for stir-frying:
- Cut the pork into evenly sized pieces and place them on a plate. Add salt, Shaoxing wine, oyster sauce, and white pepper. Massage the pork until it becomes slightly sticky in texture. Then, add chicken stock or pure water and continue massaging until the liquid is fully absorbed. This method, known as “grasping,” involves using your hands to coat the pork slices thoroughly with the marinade.
- Add cornstarch to the pork and mix well. Let it sit for around 15 minutes, or longer in the fridge if you have time. This step creates a protective shell that prevents the pork slices from losing moisture.
- Just before stir-frying, add a small amount of vegetable cooking oil to prevent the pork from sticking to the wok.
7 Tips for a Perfect Mushroom and Pork Stir Fry
To ensure your mushroom and pork stir fry turns out perfectly, keep these tips in mind:
- Heat the wok until smoking hot: This step is crucial to avoid the pork sticking to the wok.
- Avoid using cold meat: If you’re using frozen meat, make sure it is completely thawed before cooking.
- Fry in small batches: It’s best to fry no more than 200g of pork at a time. Stir-frying a large quantity of pork in a wok lowers the temperature and increases the cooking time, resulting in tough and chewy meat.
- Stir quickly and constantly: Don’t leave the pork in the wok for too long. Stir it quickly and constantly to ensure each piece cooks evenly.
- Transfer the pork slices at the right time: As soon as the surface of the pork slices turns pale, transfer them out. Don’t worry if there’s a slight pink color inside, as the residual heat will continue cooking them.
- Fry the vegetables with the leftover oil: This enhances the fragrance of the vegetables due to the infused oil.
- Add the meat at the end: After adding the pork slices, add all the seasonings and quickly fry for no more than 20 seconds. Prolonged stir-frying at this stage may remove the protective starch layer on the pork.
To recreate this delicious dish, gather the following ingredients:
- Pork butt or tenderloin
- Salt and pepper for marinating the pork
- Cooking wine to remove any raw taste from the pork
- Oyster sauce (can be replaced with light soy sauce and sugar)
- Water or chicken stock
- Cornstarch to velvet the pork
- Sesame oil
- Cooking oil
- Shiitake mushrooms (or other fresh mushrooms like button mushrooms)
- Light soy sauce
- Scallions, cut into small sections (white and green parts separated)
- Cloves and ginger, common aromatics used in stir-frying dishes
Thinly slice the pork and add salt, cooking wine, oyster sauce, and white pepper. Massage the pork for a while until all the flavors are absorbed. Then, add water or stock and continue massaging for 2-3 minutes until the liquid is fully absorbed. Add cornstarch and mix well. Set aside for 15 minutes. Just before stir-frying, mix in around half a tablespoon of vegetable cooking oil.
Prepare the shiitake mushrooms by removing the roots and quickly rinsing them under running water if necessary. Avoid soaking the mushrooms in water. Slice them evenly.
Heat your wok or pan until very hot. Add cooking oil to create a 2-3 cm high layer. Don’t be alarmed by the amount of oil; you won’t consume it all. Add the pork slices when the oil is warm but not excessively hot. Let them cook for around 3-5 seconds, then quickly fry them until they turn pale. Transfer them out immediately.
Remove the excess oil, saving it for vegetable stir-fries. Keep approximately one tablespoon of oil in the wok and fry the garlic, ginger, and scallions until aromatic. Add the shiitake mushrooms, oyster sauce, and light soy sauce. Stir-fry for about 30 seconds until the mushrooms are just cooked.
Return the pork slices and scallions to the wok. Mix everything well and serve hot.
The result is a dish with tender and juicy pork complemented by the delightful aroma of shiitake mushrooms. Enjoy this delicious Si Chuan specialty from BDK Restaurant!