Crunchy cashews, cancer protective broccoli and a bit of pork all combine to produce a wonderful dish that is big on both taste and nutrition and fast and easy to prepare.
Stir-frying is a quick and healthy way to cook and an easy technique well worth mastering. By simply tossing bite-size pieces of vegetables in a minimal amount of hot oil, vegetables become tender crisp, remain brightly colored and retain their nutritional qualities. Though vegetables are the main attraction in this delicious stir-fry, cashews and pork give it a richer flavor and protein boost.
First developed in China, stir-frying was a cooking method using basic brick stoves. The typical stovetop had a hole over a fire chamber so a round-bottomed wok fit over the opening, capturing heat efficiently. A small, hot fire was enough to make the wok very hot. Oil and chopped food were stirred and tossed in a pan, cooking in minutes, while making efficient use of precious fuel and producing vibrant flavors with a hint of smokiness.
Much of the distinctly Asian flavor in this stir-fry comes from the sesame oil, which is derived from what is believed to be one of the first plants to be used to produce edible oil. The term sesame traces back to the Arabic simsim, Coptic semsem, and early Egyptian semsent. Valued for its taste sesame oil is one of the most popular cooking oils in Asia today. Sautéing the onions, peppers, and carrots in this oil really brings out their flavors while infusing them with the great nutty taste of sesame.
Ginger and soy sauce add to the Asian flavor and cashews give that great crunchy quality. Placing the stir-fry over a bed of nutritious brown rice produces a satisfying meal.
Cashew Stir-fry with Broccoli and Pork
3 tsp. sesame oil, divided
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 medium red bell pepper, sliced in 1/4-inch strips
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced crosswise
3 cups broccoli florets
8 oz. boneless pork loin chops, cut into 1-inch by 1/2-inch strips
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes or to taste
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1 Tbsp. finely minced fresh ginger
2 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup toasted unsalted cashews, chopped (roasted peanuts may be substituted)
In large non-stick skillet or wok heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, pepper and carrot and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove vegetables and set aside.
Heat another 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat and stir-fry broccoli for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove broccoli and set aside with vegetables.
Heat last teaspoon oil over medium heat and stir-fry pork, garlic and red pepper flakes for 4 to 5 minutes or until pork is no longer pink. Stir in scallions and ginger and sauté for an additional minute. Stir in vegetables. Add soy sauce and broth. Cook 1 to 2 minutes.
Divide rice among four dinner bowls and top each with stir-fry. Sprinkle cashews on top and serve.
Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 369 calories, 15 g total fat (3 g saturated fat), 41 g carbohydrate, 21 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 374 mg sodium.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $96 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.