A cracking stir-fry from one of Nigel Slater’s older books. The key to stir-frying is to crank up the heat and keep it there for the entire cooking time. It seems a bit scary at first but it’s the only way to guarantee everything is cooked through and the whole thing doesn’t end up soggy.
Pork with cashews, lime and mint – to serve 2
- 400g pork fillet/steak, sliced into short bite-size strips
- 6 tbsp groundnut or other flavourless oil
- 90g unsalted cashew nuts, chopped fairly fine
- 4 scallions, finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- a 4cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely shredded
- 4 small, hot red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
- zest and juice of 3 big, fat limes
- 2 tbsp nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
- a handful of mint leaves, chopped
- a handful of basil leaves, torn
Get your wok really hot over the highest heat, then add 3 tbsp of the oil. When the oil crackles add the pork and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until sealed and golden in parts. Stir not and then as is cooks. If you end up with a load of juice your pan is not hot enough but you can just pour it off and carry on cooking. Don’t be tempted to turn the heat down.
When the meat is browned and sizzling, tip it on to a warm plate along with any juices. Get the wok really hot again before adding the rest of the oil, then add the scallions, garlic, ginger and chillies and stir-fry for a couple of minutes.
Add the nuts, fry for another couple of minutes, then return the meat and its juices to the pan. Stir in the lime zest and juice and the nam pla and fry for two more minutes, then stir in the mint and basil. Serve right away with some fried rice.
Wine Suggestion: The trickiest flavour to match here is the lime so it’s probably best to work with it rather than against it. Perhaps an Australian Riesling such as Petaluma or a Pewsey Vale.
(Original recipe from Nigel Slater Real Food, Fourth Estate, 1998.)