Chilli and lemon sesame pork

With free range pork increasingly available, and at a really good price, we’ll be eating more of it.

And the myth that pork is “fatty” meat needs to be dispelled. If anything, pork is leaner than marbled beef, if you avoid the inevitable fat layer on a chop, joint or pork belly slab.

At a loose end for dinner the other night, I rummaged through the deep freeze and came upon a pair of pork fillets.

Some research by dear sweet Elspeth led us to this delightful recipe which is remarkably quick and easy to make and devastatingly enjoyable.

We served the dish with basmati rice, but it will work equally well with glass noodles, which you can stir into the mixture just before serving.

A word of caution regarding the lemon juice. Eureka lemons, the variety most freely available in supermarkets, tend to be quite large and juicy. If you use a Eureka lemon, adjust the quantity of juice you use downwards. We used a smallish rough-skinned Cape lemon, which tends to be less juicy and sweeter, and it was just right.

Ingredients, Selection and Preparation

350-400g pork fillet: trimmed and sliced into strips

2 shallots or 1 red onion: thinly sliced

2 medium-size red chillies: deseeded and thinly sliced. I used a single long cayenne chilli and it was just right. Use your judgment based on chilli size and heat factor.

juice and zest of one lemon

100g sesame seeds: this seems like a lot, but it really makes the dish.

125g mangetout (snow peas): tops snapped off

olive oil for cooking

2 tbsp of butter


Blanch the mangetout first. Heat a small saucepan of salted water to a brisk boil and plunge in the mangetout for a minute. Drain and refresh with cold water, then set aside.

Heat a wok and add the sesame seeds. Toast them until golden brown, stirring constantly to avoid burning, about five minutes. Set them aside for now.

Add a tbsp or two of olive oil to the wok, and stir-fry the shallots, chilli and lemon zest until just soft, about two minutes.

Season the pork strips with salt and pepper, and add a tbsp of olive oil to the wok. Turn up the heat and add the pork, stir-frying it until cooked through and golden brown, about six to seven minutes.

Stir in the mangetout, butter, sesame seeds and lemon juice to taste.

Mix well to coat the meat and mangetout with sesame seeds, butter and lemon.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Yield: four servings