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Pork stir-fry is a dish that is typically prepared using thin strips of pork that are cooked in a large skillet on high heat. Although a standard non-stick skillet can be used, traditional recipes for this dish often call for a piece of Asian cookware called a “wok,” that has high sides and a flat bottom. Strips of pork and other ingredients, such as sliced green onions, water chestnuts, and snap peas are cooked over high heat and stirred continuously. Pork stir-fry can include a wide range of different vegetables, including sliced carrots and mushrooms.
The name “pork stir-fry” comes from the type of meat used in this dish and the method through which it is cooked. Many different types of stir-fry dishes exist, and recipes can often call for pork, chicken, or beef interchangeably. Pork is often used because the white meat has a fresh and light taste that can easily pick up other flavors like soy sauce and ginger. This allows the various ingredients often used in pork stir-fry to come together well and create a cohesive dish.
A wide range of different vegetables and other ingredients can be added to pork stir-fry, though common additions include snap peas and green onions. The peas can be left whole or sliced, and the green onion stalks are usually sliced fairly thin at a diagonal angle. Carrots can be diced or also prepared in thin slices along with different types of mushrooms. Water chestnuts are often served in pork stir-fry and provide not only a crispy texture but also a bright flavor that is unique within the dish.
Pork stir-fry is often prepared by first cutting a piece of pork into either cubes or thin slices. These pieces are meant to cook rather quickly and are usually soaked in a sauce or marinade prior to cooking. A non-stick skillet can be used for making stir-fry, though the traditional piece of cookware is called a wok. It is similar in shape and design to a skillet, but it has tall sides and a flat bottom, allowing heat to transfer easily to food at the bottom and providing room for the food to be moved around during cooking.
A small amount of oil, usually sesame or peanut oil, is placed at the bottom of the wok and heated before the pieces of pork are then placed into it. These strips or cubes tend to cook quickly, and preparation of each ingredient prior to cooking is important. The pork and vegetables are cooked in the wok over high heat, and are stirred constantly during cooking to keep them from burning. This method gives pork stir-fry its name and makes the cooking process quite brief.