Five-spice stir-fry a quick weeknight meal

Linda Gassenheimer
Tribune News Service

Five-spice powder gives this stir-fry its intriguing taste. The flavors delicately glaze the ingredients. The spice is a pungent mixture of star anise, cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed and Szechwan peppercorns. You can use it to add a different flavor to other rice or vegetable dishes.

The dish has several ingredients, but once they’re assembled they take only a few minutes to cook. This stir-fry takes only 6 to 7 minutes once in the wok. You can even prepare the ingredients the night before for a quick dinner the next day.

Helpful hints:

Minced garlic can be found in the produce section. Four crushed garlic cloves can be used instead.

Chinese five-spice powder can be found in the spice section or sometimes in the ethnic section of the market.

Slice all vegetables in a food processor fitted with a thin slicing blade.

Five-Spice Pork Stir-fry

For Sauce

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth, divided use

11/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon low-salt, soy sauce

For stir-fry

1 tablespoon slivered almonds

2 teaspoons canola oil

1/2 cup sliced onion

1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper

1/2 cup sliced carrots

1/2 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 cup sliced baby bello mushrooms

1 cup frozen corn kernels

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Mix 1/4 cup chicken broth, vinegar, five-spice powder, garlic and soy sauce together. Set aside. Heat a wok or large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add almonds and toss until golden, about 20 seconds. Set aside on a plate. Add oil to wok and heat over high heat until smoking. Add onion, red bell pepper and carrots, and stir-fry 3 minutes. Add pork, mushrooms and corn and stir-fry 2 minutes more. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a bowl.

Add broth mixture to the wok and boil 1 minute. Stir cornstarch into the remaining 1 tablespoon broth, and add to the wok. Boil to thicken sauce, about 30 seconds. Remove wok from heat. Add stir-fried ingredients and toss to coat with sauce. Serve with rice and sprinkle almonds on top.

Yields 2 servings.

Per serving: 324 calories (33 percent from fat), 11.7 g fat (1.5 g saturated, 6.4 g monounsaturated), 72 mg cholesterol, 30.7 g protein, 26.5 g carbohydrates, 4.5 g fiber, 355 mg sodium.

Quick Brown Rice

1 package microwaveable brown rice (11/2 cups needed)

2 teaspoons canola oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Make brown rice according to package instructions. Measure 11/2 cups and save the rest of the rice for another dinner. Add oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Yields 2 servings.

Per serving: 226 calories (23 percent from fat), 6 g fat (0.7 g saturated, 3.4 g monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 4.2 g protein, 38.8 g carbohydrates, 2.4 g fiber, 6 mg sodium.

Recipes by Linda Gassenheimer

— Linda Gassenheimer is an author of over 30 cookbooks. Her newest is “The 12-Week Diabetes Cookbook.” Find her on Facebook (@FoodNewsandViews) and Twitter (@LGassenheimer), and listen to her podcasts at