Dry-Fried Smoked Pork with Asparagus

Dry Fried Pork with Asparagus
We could say this is to mark the end of asparagus season. Or we could say that I noticed that there was some asparagus in the fridge that was nearing the end of its life and could still be salvaged by snapping the top halves off. As there wasn’t enough of it for a dish in its own right, I decided to add the asparagus to the pork stir-fry I’d been planning for lunch. And I roughly adapted the recipe for dry-fried chicken in Fuchsia Dunlop’s excellent Sichuan cookbook, Land of Plenty. I’ve made this before with strips of pork and a range of vegetables—her recipe calls for chicken and celery but she notes that it can be made with all kinds of vegetables. The pork I was using was something called “smoked ham steak”—one of the cuts we got when we purchased a whole pig from a local butcher in February. I wasn’t really sure what this was going to be but it turned out to be smoked ham on the bone cut into two thick slices. As it was already ready to eat this made the dish an even quicker prep and the smoke added a nice touch.

Chllies/Peppercorns VegIngredients

  • 2 lbs smoked ham, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup asparagus tips
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 8-10 whole dry red chillies
  • 1 tblspn Sichuan peppercorns
  • 2 tblspns hot broad bean sauce
  • 1 tblspn shao hsing cooking wine
  • 1 tspn dark soy sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tspn toasted sesame oil
  • Peanut or grapeseed oil

Smoked HamPreparation

  1. Heat the oil in a wok till almost smoking and add the meat.
  2. Cook the meat for five minutes or so till beginning to brown.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the chillies and Sichuan peppercorns and stir-fry till fragrant (your nose should itch when you sniff the wok).
  4. Add the bean paste and mix thoroughly.
  5. Add the cooking wine and the soy sauce and some salt and mix thoroughly.
  6. Keep stir-frying till it is almost dry and the meat is looking crisp around the edges.
  7. Add the asparagus and scallions and a bit more salt and stir-fry till the asparagus is done.
  8. Remove from heat, stir in the sesame oil and serve immediately with steamed rice and stir-fried greens of some sort.


  1. I use slightly more chillies and Sichuan peppercorns than called for in the recipe—adjust to preference.
  2. Hot bean paste should be easily available at any large Asian grocery: look for broad beans or fava beans in the ingredient list.
  3. I’m out of peanut oil but as grapeseed oil has a very high smoke point too it’s a decent substitute.

Dry Fried Pork with Asparagus

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