Stir-fried asparagus with pork
( SERVES 4 )
- Slice the pork in very thin slices, about 4cm x 2cm (you will find it easier if you part-freeze the meat to stiffen it). Mix the soy sauce with the sugar, salt, wine (or sherry), 1/2 tsp cornflour mixed with 1tsp water (to create a paste) and sesame oil in a bowl and add the pork. Mix well.
- Peel the onion, cut in half then into thin slices. Part-crush, peel and finely chop the garlic. Peel the asparagus stalks downwards from a point 1cm below the start of the "flower" head, then snap off the bottom section of each stalk.
- Place the peelings and off-cuts in a saucepan with 1/2 cup water, and simmer together while you continue the preparation. Cut the spear ends into 2cm lengths. Peel the carrots and cut into 1/2cm x 4cm sticks. Drain the sliced bamboo shoots. Wipe the mushroom caps with a damp paper towel, break off and discard the stems and slice the caps thinly. Drain the simmering asparagus off-cuts, discarding the solid bits but retaining the water.
- Heat the peanut oil in a wok or large frypan to medium heat and add the onion, stirring for 30 seconds. Add the garlic, stir quickly, then the pork. Cook on medium heat for three minutes, stirring continually, then remove.
- If there are hard black bits on the bottom of the wok or frypan scrub them out. Add a little fresh peanut oil if necessary, then stir-fry the vegetables for a minute or so. Add the second lot of sugar and salt, the oyster sauce and the water from the asparagus off-cuts. Cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Finally, return the pork to the mixture and thicken with cornflour and water.