Craving Chinese Food, Part 2

An easy stir-fry of pork, fresh corn, and Sichuan peppecorns

If you enjoyed yesterday’s posting, exalting the use of black olives in a wonderful dish of wok-charred long beans, then no doubt you’ll enjoy this next Chinese stiry-fry dish that uses fresh corn kernels.

Nope, not the canned baby corn we’re all too familiar with in Chinese dishes, but actual scraped-from-the-cob kernels bursting with sweet milkiness. “Miao Pork with Corn and Chiles” is a dish from the semitropical region of Guizhou in China. And it’s from the gorgeous book, “Beyond the Great Wall” (Artisan) by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, husband-and-wife writers, photographers, cooks, and global travelers. Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai usually get all the attention. But Alford and Duguid lead you to the even more interesting, off-the-beaten-path areas of Tibet, the Silk Road, and Inner Mongolia.

There’s no better time to make this dish than now, when fresh summer corn is in abundance. I’ve made only a couple changes to the recipe. I used jalapeno peppers rather than cayenne ones because I happened to already have them on hand. I also upped the quantity of Sichuan pepper to 1/2 teaspoon, just because I love its aromatic tingle. And because I thought the dish needed a little something to tie all the flavors together, I drizzled on a tiny bit of toasted sesame oil right at the end. You could also toss in a few slivers of green onion, too, if you like.

Miao Pork With Corn And Chiles

(serves 4 as part of a family-style meal with rice)

1/3 pound pork loin

3 or 4 large ears of corn (to yield 3 cups kernels)

1 tablespoon lard or peanut oil

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground Sichuan pepper

2 red cayenne chiles, thinly sliced (or use jalapenos)

1 teaspoon salt

Toasted Asian sesame oil (optional)

Green onion slivers (optional)

Thinly slice the pork, then cut into small slices, about 1/2-inch by 1 inch. Set aside. Cut kernels from corncobs; one at a time, stand each cob on a cutting board and use a cleaver or chef’s knife to slice the kernels off the cob; set aside.

Place a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add lard or oil, and when it is hot, toss in garlic. Stir-fry for a moment, then add pork and Sichuan papper. Stir-fry for several minutes, then add chiles and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and stir-fry until pork has changed color all over, another minute or so. Add corn and stir-fry for about a minute, then add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir-fry until corn is cooked through and tender, another 3 to 4 minutes. Drizzle on a little toasted sesame oil, if using; and add green onions, if using.

Turn out and serve hot or at room temperature with rice.

Adapted from “Beyond the Great Wall.”

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