Friday, August 30, 2013

Recipe: Stir-Fried Pepper Corn

I know nothing beats shucking kernels off a freshly steamed/boiled/grilled cob, but this stir-fried pepper corn is excellent too, especially when fresh corn is out of season (you can swap in frozen corn!) And no matter what time of year, its sunny hues, sweet crunch & fiery heat (from a chili-infused oil) make for an instant, delicious throwback to warmer, brighter summer days.

Pepper Corn
This recipe is adapted from Grace Young's Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, my go-to reference for all things wok-related. On top of easy-to-follow recipes and useful ingredient & preparation tips, the book also includes numerous tales of how this simple cooking technique & instrument followed the Chinese population where-ever they traveled, sometimes merging with other cultures and cuisines to create dishes like Chinese-Jamaican Jerk Chicken Fried Rice and Stir-Fried Bagels (which I've tried and actually enjoyed), other times being the only means to get a taste of home no matter where they go.

Of course, there's a plethora of familiar & authentic recipes too, such as yang chow fried rice, kung pao chicken and stir-fried ginger beef (last of which she gave a video demo on.) But her summer pepper corn is one of my reliables for a party, it's a cinch to make and is a great vegetable side that easily complements many main dishes.

Stir-Fried Pepper Corn
Serves 8
  • 20 ounces of corn kernels (I used two bags frozen)
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper, roughly chopped into bite-sized chunks (I used half of each)
  • 3 scallions, whites & light green portions, chopped into thin coins
  • 2-3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
  • salt & black pepper to taste
1. Heat a wok or skillet over high heat (using Grace's test, it's ready when a drop of water vaporizes within a second.)
2. Drizzle cooking oil in and swirl until it coats almost the entire surface of the wok, add scallions and chili flakes.
3. Toss in the corn and stir vigorously, until all kernels had a chance to touch the heating surface and get coated with oil.
4. If using fresh kernels, you can add peppers immediately after the tossing. If using frozen, stir-fry for about a minute.
5. Stir-fry for about a minute or two, until both corn and pepper are brightly color.
6. Season with salt and pepper as needed, serve and enjoy!

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