Stir-fry: standby that lets you go creative

DINNER TONIGHT

June 25, 2008|By Carol Mighton Haddix | Carol Mighton Haddix,Chicago Tribune

Stir-fry is one fine standby. With quick chopping, mixing up a simple sauce, then cooking over the highest heat possible, a stir-fry dish dashes to completion well within 40 minutes. And it lends itself to creative variations. Like using whatever leftovers lurk in the fridge. Or changing from a white rice base to black. Or adding the best veggie from the farmers' market, such as the now-in-season asparagus. A standby, yes, but certainly not same-old, same-old.

Leftover pork or chicken roasts can work here; just add the julienne cooked meat at the end of cooking. Try baby bok choy when asparagus is out of season.

Carol Mighton Haddix writes for the Chicago Tribune, which provided the recipe analysis.

Asian Pork and Asparagus With Black Rice

Makes 8 servings // Total time: 40 minutes

1 3/4 cups water

1 cup black or red rice

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 can (14 ounces) low-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon each: honey, cornstarch

1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 piece (2 inches long) ginger root, finely chopped

6 boneless pork chops, thinly sliced

1 small bunch asparagus, trimmed, sliced into 1-inch pieces on the diagonal

Combine water, rice and salt in a saucepan; cover. Heat to a boil; lower heat to a simmer. Cook until rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the broth, soy sauce, honey, cornstarch and sesame oil in a small bowl.

Heat a wok over high heat about 8 minutes before rice is done cooking. Add the vegetable oil; heat to almost smoking. Add garlic and ginger; stir-fry 30 seconds. Add pork; stir-fry until starting to brown, 2 minutes. Remove to platter. Add asparagus to wok; stir-fry 2 minutes.

Stir the broth mixture; add to wok. Cook, stirring often, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Return pork and its juices to wok; stir. Cover; lower heat to medium-low. Cook until pork is done and asparagus is crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Serve over black rice.

Per serving: 262 calories, 11 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 45 milligrams cholesterol, 24 grams carbohydrate, 18 grams protein, 429 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber

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