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Weekend Recipe: Sichuan Stir-Fried Pork in Garlic Sauce

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Sichuan Stir-Fried Pork in Garlic Sauce
Serves 4 to 6

Stir-fry is the ultimate fast food: it takes barely any time to prepare and only a few minutes for everything to come together in the wok. America's Test Kitchen, as always, has a great tip: the baking soda mixture will tenderize the meat to give the pork that silky texture one finds at Chinese restaurants. Serve this dish with a bowl of steamed rice.

Photo courtesy of Cook's Illustrated

Sauce
1?2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons Chinese black vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or 1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 teaspoons ketchup
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Pork
12 ounces country-style boneless pork ribs, trimmed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1?2 cup cold water
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or 2 teaspoons dry sherry
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Stir-Fry
4 minced garlic cloves
2 scallions, white part minced, green parts sliced thin
2 tablespoons Asian garlic and red chili paste
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 ounces shiitake mushrooms or 6 ounces portabella mushrooms, stemmed and sliced thing
2 (8 ounce) cans water chestnuts

Whisk all sauce ingredients together in bowl. Set aside.

Cut pork into 2" lengths and then cut each length into 1/4" matchsticks. Combine pork with baking soda and water in bowl. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Rinse pork in cold water. Drain well and pat dry with paper towels. Whisk rice wine and cornstarch in bowl. Add pork and toss to coat.

For the stir fry, combine garlic, scallion whites, chili paste in bowl.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in large non stick pan over high heat until just smoking. Add mushrooms and cook stirring frequently until tender, 4 minutes. Add water chestnuts and cook for additional 2 to 4 minutes until tender. Transfer vegetables to separate bowl.

Add remaining 3 tablespoon oil to pan and place over medium low heat. Add garlic scallion mixture and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Transfer 1 tablespoon garlic scallion oil to small bowl and set aside. Add pork to skillet and cook until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk sauce to recombine and add to skillet. Increase heat to high and cook stirring constantly until thickened and pork cooked thru, 1 to 2 minutes. Return vegetables to skillet and combine. Transfer to platter, sprinkle with scallion greens and reserved garlic scallion oil and serve.

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