Chili pork ‘n celery, scallops ‘n green beans

chili pork and scallops green beansAsian sauces and condiments are a great thing to have around when you’re pressed for time and need food on the table in a hurry.  Checking my fridge and pantry, these are my favorites: Asian chili sauce (Siracha), jarred chopped fresh ginger (I pour sherry over it after opening it and using it for the first time, it prevents the ginger from molding), sesame oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce, black bean sauce, hoisin sauce.  These are all available in the Asian food section of your local supermarket, or take a pilgrimage to the chinese supermarket where you can stock up all sorts of goodies (including tree fungus and smelly tofu – the latter has been banned by many Taiwanese HOAs  as bothersome to neighbors).   

I took the pork chops and scallops out of the freezer last night and left them to defrost in the fridge all day. Tonight, I ran behind schedule and didn’t start dinner until John got home. I had it on the table in less than 20 minutes.

Steamed rice

Put 1-1/2 cups long-grained rice in a small pot.  Put your index finger vertically in the pot touching the surface of the rice and add water until it comes up to your first knuckle.  Put on the stove uncovered on high.  When the half the water has evaporated, turn the heat to very low and cover the pot.  I don’t know why, but this is how my mom and just about every other Chinese mother I know made rice (except now they all have rice cookers; my mom has hot rice in the cooker all day long).  It works!

Preparing chili pork and celery

  • 2 stalks celery strings removed
  • 2 green onions, bulbs removed and discarded
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3/4 pound frozen boneless pork chops almost completely defrosted (or one pound with bone, remove bone, wrap and freeze bone for soup stock)
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp Asian chili sauce
  • 1 tbsp sherry

Slice celery diagonally in thin slices.  Cut green onions into 1 inch lengths.  Peel and mince garlic.  Slice defrosted pork into thin strips (partially frozen meat is easier to cut.  If the pork chops are thick, slice them across parallel to the board first, then cut into thin strips).  Mix sliced pork with ginger, soy sauce, cornstarch, chili sauce and sherry.  This would be about the time to turn the heat under the rice down to low and cover the pot.

 Scallops and green beans

  •  1 ½ cups frozen green beans
  • ½ pound  frozen bay scallops, defrosted
  • 1 tbsp Chinese oyster sauce
  • 4 tsp Canola or peanut oil

 Put green beans in a colander and run hot water over them to defrost.  Drain well.  Heat up 2 tsp oil in a wok or skillet over very high heat.  When the oil is almost smoking, add drained beans.  Stir fry for about 2 minutes until bright green and still crisp. While beans are cooking, put scallops in the colander, run cold water over them , and drain well.  Turn beans out into a serving bowl.  Add the remaining 2 tsp oil and bring to smoking again.   Add drained scallops and stir fry.  Scallops cook very quickly.  Stir fry 1 ½ to 2 minutes until they just begin to turn color and are no longer squishy.  Turn them into the same bowl with the green beans.  Add oyster sauce and mix well.

 Finishing the chili pork and celery

  • 4 tsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp sugar

 Wipe the skillet/wok with a paper towel.  Heat up the pan again.  Add 2 tsp canola oil.  Heat till very hot.  Add celery, green onions, and garlic, sprinkle sugar on top and stir fry for about 2 minutes.  Turn out into a bowl.  Add remaining 2 tsp oil.  Heat up till very hot again.  Add pork mixture and stir fry until pork loses its pink color but is still juicy.  Return celery mixture to the pan and mix well.  Taste, add more chili sauce if preferred.  Turn out into a bowl

 Serve these two dishes with steamed rice.

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