This month's Food Network Magazine contains 11,375 different stir fry recipes. They have five simple steps for each recipe (i.e. pick your protein, marinate, prep veggies, choose a sauce, and stir-fry) hence the many different varieties. I chose to make Sweet and Sour Pork with carrots, snow peas, onions, and 3 types of peppers, but the choices for veggies are endless. You could add broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, celery, cabbage, etc. Same goes for the protein--chicken, shrimp, beef, tofu. For my version...
You will need:
1 pork tenderloin
1 red pepper
1 orange pepper
1 yellow pepper
handful of snow peas
handful of baby carrots
2tsp minced garlic
For the Sauce:
3/4 cup chicken broth (low sodium)
1/4 cup ketchup (I used low sugar)
2 packets (or 2tsp) soy sauce
3T rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1tsp sesame oil
The pork tenderloin has to be cooked a bit before adding to the stir fry. Heat 1T of oil in a frying pan and sear the pork over medium high heat until brown on each side, about 5 minutes. (The pork spatters quite a bit while browning. My poor magazine is covered in oil and pork juice.) Then cook the pork for 20 minutes in the oven at 425 degrees until the internal temp of the pork is 145 degrees. It will still be a tiny bit pink inside, but that's fine because you'll be cooking it further in the stir fry. Allow it to rest for 15 minutes at least before slicing.
While the pork is baking, prepare your veggies. Slice the peppers and onion into strips. (I only used half of each pepper because they were really large. Usually peppers are smaller. But I saved the other halves for a veggie tray the next day.)
I like to cut the baby carrots in half and then half again.
In a small saucepan or bowl whisk together the chicken broth and cornstarch until thoroughly combined. Then mix in the rest of your sauce ingredients. If you don't have rice vinegar you can substitute apple cider or even white vinegar, but rice is best. There really isn't a substitute for the sesame oil. It's not expensive and definitely worth having a bottle if you like to make homemade Chinese food. Set aside the sauce.
Add the 2T oil, garlic, and ginger to a saucepan. I just wiped out the same pan I used for the pork. (See the scratch marks on my favorite green pan? They were made by a metal utensil, but not by me. :( I was so upset when I saw the scratches.)
Heat to high and then add all the veggies. Stir-fry them all until crisp-tender.
Then add your sliced pork and pour the sauce on top of it all. Stir until the sauce thickens and the veggies are tender (but not soft). If you find that the sauce becomes too thick you can add a bit more chicken broth, but I didn't have that problem. Everything worked out perfectly.
Serve over some brown rice.
So much better than take-out! And better for you, too. The sauce is perfect. Not too sweet, not too sour. I like this version a million times more than the super thick, super sweet stuff we get from our local Chinese food place. Toss some sesame seeds on top before serving to fancy it up if you like. :)