The Art of the Stirfry

Tony Jackman’s pork loin stir fry


1 pork loin fillet, in slim slices

Button mushrooms, sliced

4 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal in 2 cm or 3 cm pieces

3 garlic cloves, sliced thinly

10 to 12 or so baby corn

½ a red and ½ a yellow pepper, seeds removed, sliced julienne

1 red chilli, finely chopped (more if you like)

⅓ cup soy sauce

¼ cup rice wine

1 tsp fivespice

Oil such as peanut, grapeseed or coconut

Sesame oil

Asian noodles of your choice


Boil a kettle. Put the noodles in a deep bowl. Halfway through the following cook, pour boiling water over the noodles to cover, and leave it to soak. This is how I do it, no matter what kind of Asian noodle it is, and it always works a treat.

Mix the soy sauce and rice wine in a bowl and stir in the fivespice. Keep this next to the stove top to add as you cook. (I often use other Asian sauces, but this was the mix I chose for this dish, but be as inventive as you like and adapt the recipe to suit yourself and what’s in the cupboard.)

Slice the mushrooms, spring onions, garlic, chilli and peppers. Put them all in a container next to the stove, keeping the mushrooms separate. (Mushrooms cook a little differently from the other vegetables involved as they release juices which have to be cooked away.) Slice the pork and have it to hand in a second container.

Add a little sesame oil and another oil such as peanut to a cold wok and then put the heat on high underneath it.

First cook the sliced mushrooms, stirring all the while, until they turn a nutty brown, adding a splash or two of the sauce while you cook them. This “seasons” the wok for the rest of the cook. That’s the thing about stir frying: each element that is cooked flavours all the rest of the ingredients to follow. It builds up incrementally. Just as oil must always go into a cold wok. Do they teach these things in our cooking academies, I wonder?

Next, add a tiny bit more oil and fry a few pieces of the pork, just enough to cover the bottom of the wok but without them touching each other. This, plus the high heat, is how you avoid the meat bleeding and consequently stewing. That plus moving the pieces of meat around.

Remove those to a side dish and fry the next batch and the next until it’s all done.

Now add all the remaining vegetables including the baby corn, chilli, garlic, the works. And cook on a high heat while stirring constantly. Not for long at all, just enough to get the veg just done. Add more of the sauce as you cook.

Put the meat back in, add more sauce, and stir it all so everything is pleasantly mixed up.

Quickly drain the soaked noodles, add them to the pan, toss, and serve. That’s it. Done. Garnish with chopped coriander if you like. Grab the chopsticks. DM/TGIFood 

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Champion 2021 for his food writing.