Thursday, November 12, 2009

Skeptic - Pork Tenderloin Stir-Fry with Tangerines & Chili Sauce

Now that the show is open I'm getting back in the swing of things with a more regular schedule. More evenings off means more time to cook and get together with friends. You'd hardly know that based of the infrequency of my posting here. I'll do my best in the coming weeks to post more often. It's such a relief to be able to have the time to get back in the kitchen and to try new recipes that require more than 10-20 minutes. Like being able to take a long breath again, to just relax and enjoy the process. It's amazing how cooking has become such a stress-reducer for me. I sometimes wonder if it would stay that way if I actually did it for a living. Would I enjoy it as much? Would I come to resent it? Or would it just continue to make me happy? Cooking and sharing with others. I love both the familiarity and the experimentation, the endless combination and new riffs. Seeing a new technique or coming across a pairing I'd never even considered, those things now seem to jump off a page or website like an exclamation mark.

This is one of those dishes that just struck me as so weird and interesting while also quick and simple, I really couldn't pass it up. It's unique in that you saute the tangerines peel and all. You eat it that way as well. Once they hit the heat, the peels become tender and less bitter. Daniel looked at me with a healthy amount of skepticism once he saw the recipe I had stealthily tried to shield from his prying eyes. He voiced his concern and then sat back, waiting to be proven right. In the end, he ate both his words and skepticism. Both he and his roommate pronounced the dish a winner. Though I did notice that his tangerine peels remained untouched. I thought they were great.

A word of caution, I couldn't find sweet chili sauce. I got plain old chili sauce instead, and it made a huge difference in the spice level. Be sure to taste it before you combine it so you can determine your own comfort zone with the spice. While Daniel loved it, I had tears streaming down my face. Very tasty, but VERY spicy, and I didn't even use the whole 1/4 cup it called for.

Pork Tenderloin Stir-Fry with Tangerines & Chili Sauce
from Bon Appetit, November 2009
serves 4

1 1/4 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut crosswise into 1/2 inch thick rounds, the sliced into 1/2 inch strips
1 tbsp cornstarch
salt & pepper for seasoning
2 tbsp sesame oil, divided
1 tbsp peeled & minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 small unpeeled tangerines, cut into 3/4 inch slices (keep peel on)
1/4 cup sweet asian chili sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp chinese five-spice powder
6 baby bok choy, ends trimmed and discarded, sliced crosswise into 1 inch ribbons
5 green onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal

Toss the pork tenderloin strips with salt & pepper for seasoning, add the conrstarch and toss to coat. Heat 1 tbsp sesame oil in a non-stick saute pan over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic, saute for 30 seconds. Add the pork and stir fry till pork starts to brown and is almost cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add tangerines and cook while tossing about 30 seconds, then add chili sauce, five-spice powder and soy sauce. Toss to coat. Boil until sauce thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Add remaining sesame oil, bok choy and half the green onions. Stir fry until bok choy is wilted, about 1-2 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper, transfer to a serving platter and top with the remaining green onions. Serve over rice.


  1. I can recommend a brand of sweet chili sauce to you, if you like. There's a Vietnamese brand that we use and ADORE, and it doesn't need to be refrigerated and it doesn't go bad!

  2. Yes! What's the name of it and where did you get it?