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Spicy Chinese [Fierce Foodie]

Chinese food is my soul food. Whenever my father was out of town, which was quite a bit when I was growing up, my mom would pick us up a dinner of chicken and broccoli, pork lo mein, and wonton soup. Some days she would even let me “play hookie” from school and go to Chinese buffet with her. Mounds of white rice with savory stir fries, tender dumplings and crisply fried squid. Sauces described, not by flavor but by color, brown and white, with toasted sesame and peanut oil complementing garlic and soy. Now that I live close to her again, we occasionally go to what she calls our “watering hole,” a Chinese buffet with her favorite seaweed salad and pork filled buns. Or if I am very lucky, she makes her own versions of my favorite Asian foods.

The following recipe has all the tastes I love in Chinese food: the sweetness of hoisin, the salt of soy sauce, the rich flavors of peanut and sesame oil, the tang of rice wine vinegar. Instead of green beans you could easily use broccoli, spinach or cabbage. Asian eggplant would also be delicious.

Spicy Pork Stir-Fry With Green Beans
Courtesy of


3 tablespoons soy sauce

¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

1 pound ground pork

¼ cup chicken stock or canned, low-sodium chicken broth

3 ½ tablespoons hoisin sauce

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

½ teaspoon cornstarch

¼ cup peanut oil

12 ounces green beans, rinsed, ends trimmed, cut into 4-inch lengths

3 tablespoons thinly sliced garlic

1 ½ teaspoons dark Asian sesame oil

Cooked white rice, for serving, optional

Cooking Directions:

In a mixing bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce, the white pepper, and the ground pork. Mix well to combine, and then set aside.

Make the sauce by combining the chicken stock, hoisin sauce, crushed red pepper, rice vinegar, cornstarch, and the remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce in a bowl. Set aside.

Heat a wok or saute pan over high heat until hot. Add the peanut oil, and when the oil is smoking, add the green beans and cook, stirring frequently, until they are slightly wrinkled, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beans to a paper towel-lined plate, and set aside.

Add the garlic to the wok and cook briefly until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add the ground pork and stir-fry until it is no longer pink, about 1 ½ minutes. Stir the sauce mixture, add it to the wok, and stir to combine. Bring the liquid to a boil and cook until it begins to thicken, about 45 seconds.

Return the green beans to the wok and drizzle with the sesame oil. Cook briefly until warmed through. Then serve immediately, over hot rice if desired.

featured image credit: ivva