A spin on the Vietnamese stir fried beef and chayote that Speedy picked up from Luke Nguyen. This dish has pork in lieu of beef, there is no marinating required and the heat comes from two sources — chilies and ginger.
Why not chilies, period? Why complicate the procedure by adding ginger? They’re a pain to peel, to start with.
Well, see, heat comes in different levels and dimensions. The heat of ginger is different from the heat of chilies. It doesn’t scorch, the sensation in the mouth is different, the aroma is heady and almost intoxicating. Don’t believe me? Try grating ginger. Then, place your fingers next to your nose and inhale deeply for a full minute.
By combining chilies and ginger, you get an altogether different range and definition of heat, bold and mysterious, almost tangible yet without definite form, and totally alluring. Yes, all those adjectives often used to describe Asian food and culture.
So, how is this stir fried pork and chayote strips with ginger and chilies cooked?
- 2 tbsps. of cooking oil
- about 150 g. of cooked pork, cut into thin strips
- 6 cloves of garlic, minces
- 1 tsp. of minced ginger
- 2 bird's eye chilies, finely sliced (plus more, optionally, to garnish)
- 2 shallots, or 1 onion, thinly sliced
- patis (fish sauce)
- dark brown sugar, to taste
- 1 chayote, cut into strips about the same size as the pork
- about ¼ c. of broth
- snipped cilantro, to garnish
- Heat the oil.
- Brown the pork.
- Add the garlic, ginger, chilies and shallots. Season with fish sauce and dark brown sugar.
- Saute for about a minute the add the chayote and pour in the broth.
- Drizzle in more fish sauce.
- Bring to the boil, cover the pan and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the chayote strips are done, still firm and definitely not mushy.
- Taste, adjust the seasonings, as needed. Top with snipped cilantro (and more finely sliced bird's eye chili, if you like) before serving.