Peanut Butter and Purple Onions

Sounds crazy until you try it.

Monday, January 30, 2006

ARF/5-A-Day Tuesdays #5: So Much for That Bottle

...of chile oil, that is.

I found a teeny bottle of chile oil in my oil and vinegar cupboard the other day. Can't really remember where I got it -- and that should frighten us all, friends, because I've only been here since June. (Although in that time, I've now managed to acquire THREE boxes of cornstarch. How? Why? I barely use the stuff. I blame the cats.)

So anyway, when a cupboard gives you chile oil, I say make fake stir-fry. Fake because, well, let's not fool ourselves. This is not authentic. (If you are interested in seeing how to cook authentic Asian cuisine, I highly recommend Tigers & Strawberries.) But it's quick, and tasty, and it used all my chile oil. And I do so love to use up bottles of this and that. Doesn't it make you feel virtuous and thrifty?

Even when you don't know where the bottles came from.

Spicy Stir-Fry
Adapted from the Weight Watchers website

Serves 4.

2-3 tsp. chile oil
1 lb. pork stir-fry meat, in bite-sized pieces
5 med. garlic cloves, minced
1 T. minced ginger root
2-3 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 tsp. cornstarch, mixed with 0.25 c. water
1 lb. package frozen stir-fry vegetables -- broccoli, water chestnuts, carrots, red bell pepper, etc.
3 T. soy sauce
1 tsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
1.5 tsp. orange-ginger marmalade

In a large skillet (or wok, should you have one, which I do not, alas, alack-a-day), heat 1 tsp. chile oil. Add pork and cook, stirring frequently, until it browns and is just cooked through. Remove the meat to a plate.

Add the rest of the oil, then add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, and being careful not to let the mixture burn, until the garlic is golden and everything's fragrant.

Add the vegetables and cook, still stirring frequently, until they heat through. (They may steam quite a bit in a sort of dry-ice fog way. This is kind of fun.) Add the soy sauce, vinegar, and marmalade and stir well; pour in the cornstarch/water mixture and bring to a boil.

Return the meat to the skillet and stir everything together. Serve over rice, if you like.

* Without rice, this comes in at 5 Weight Watchers Points per serving.
* I added two extra cups of broccoli, because I wanted to boost the veggie quotient.
* I also added a shake or two of sesame oil for more flavor.

This is my entry for Sweetnicks' ARF/5-a-Day Tuesdays!


  • At 9:31 PM, Blogger PatL said…

    Hi, BNA, that is one gorgeous-looking dish! Question about your recipe: are you putting the garlic cloves in whole? Can't say as I have a lot of chili oil sitting around, but this recipe might be a good excuse to go get some! And some orange-ginger marmalade, never heard of it! Thanks for getting my creative juices going!

  • At 12:19 AM, Anonymous Ivonne said…

    Hey BNA,

    That looks amazing to me! I actually make my own chili oil which is great because I only make as much as I need.

    Basically you just heat 1/2 cup of olive oil with 1 tsp. of chili flakes for 5 minutes over a very low flame.

    Let it cool, put it in a bottle and keep it in a cupboard for two to three weeks or in the fridge for a few months. It will harden in the fridge but once out of the fridge it will return to oil form after a few minutes.

    Love your blog!

  • At 1:30 AM, Blogger Devorit said…

    Another fabulous looking one to try!

    As for the cornstarch, I brought them when I visited. Smuggled them in in the dead of night and the kittens and I hid them in strategic places. I only SAID the noise was the kittens with that infernal stick.

  • At 3:16 AM, Blogger ilva said…

    Love it! Btw, I ahve found a quite pedagogical (?) recipe for the timballo but it is in Italian, do you or anybody you know read it?

  • At 9:17 AM, Blogger BNA said…

    my goodness, Patl, thanks for finding that error -- I meant to say the garlic should be minced. I've fixed it in the recipe now. The recipe originally called for regular orange marmalade, but I'm not that big a fan, so I chose one that sounded more palatable to my overly-ginger-obsessed tastes. Hope you go get that chili oil -- or better yet, join me in making Ivonne's version!

    Project! Project! I love that idea, Ivonne. I'm all over it this weekend. And your blog is one of my favorite new places to visit!

    Devorit -- I might've known. I take it there's going to be some kind of gravy uprising and you needed supplies?

    Hi Ilva -- learning Italian is one of my goals, but right now, alas, I'm totally ignorant. :( thanks for looking for a recipe, though, that was very sweet.

  • At 3:02 PM, Blogger Cyndi said…

    With all that heat and sweetness, it's almost a Kung Pao-type recipe. Sounds yummy!

  • At 7:11 PM, Anonymous Rorie said…

    Your faux-stir-fry looks divine!

  • At 7:18 PM, Anonymous Tania said…

    Marmelade in a stir-fry? I never thought of that! What a flavourful idea!

    This recipe sounds really delicious AND healthy. Let's you use up all that cornstarch, too. ;-)

  • At 12:10 PM, Blogger BNA said…

    Hi Cyndi -- you know, that's a good comparison. This recipe's not quite as spicy and not as powerful a flavor as kung pao, but the sweet/spicy kick is similar.

    Hey Rorie -- maybe "go faux!" should be my new motto!

    Hi Tania -- clearly I've got to start hunting for recipes to start to use up all that cornstarch, huh? The marmalade rounds out the stirfry with a sweet flavor that's not overpowering.


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