"Foolproof Chinese Cooking" (DK, $19.95) must be one of the most encouraging cookbook titles ever devised. And the book's easily made stir-fried pork with scallions is a recipe for even the most faint-hearted to try -- it can be ready to serve in about half an hour.
The book is written by Ken Hom, as companion volume to "Great Food," the public television series in which he appears. His earlier best-selling cookbooks include "Travels With a Hot Wok" (DK, 2000) and "Cooking of China" (Diane Publishing, 1998).
Hom was born in the United States to immigrant Chinese parents, has been the host of several BBC-TV cooking series in Britain, and now lives in the south of France.
The step-by-step photographs and the tested recipes in his book will help you achieve success, he promises in the introduction, then adds: "However, be bold. Trust your own palate. ... Adjust and invent, as Chinese cooks have for centuries."
The 128-page book with its clear, color illustrations will give you a good start, and the menus at the end suggest exhilarating progress from a romantic dinner for two, to a buffet for 20.
Stir-Fried Pork With Scallions
Preparation: 5 minutes
Marinating: 10 to 15 minutes
Cooking time: 5 to 10 minutes
1 pound lean boneless pork
1 tablespoon peanut oil
8 scallions, cut on the diagonal into 1/4-inch lengths
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
For the marinade:
1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Cut the pork into thin slices 2 inches long. Put the sliced pork into a bowl and mix in all the marinade ingredients. Leave for 10 to 15 minutes so that the pork absorbs the flavors of the marinade.
Heat a wok to a very high heat, then add the peanut oil. When it is very hot and slightly smoking, add the pork slices and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, until brown. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and let it drain in a colander.
Reheat the wok and add the scallions, salt, pepper and sugar. Stir-fry for 2 minutes or until the scallions are wilted. Return the pork to the wok and stir-fry for another 2 minutes or until heated through. Serve immediately.
Makes 3 to 4 servings.
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