Asian-Spiced Pork Stew with Scallion Pancakes

star rating (6) rate this recipe »
Recipe photo

Asian-Spiced Pork Stew with Scallion Pancakes

star rating (6) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

This colorful melange of pork and vegetables features the deep flavor of molasses, the heat of red pepper flakes, and the distinctive taste of cilantro (or basil, if you're not a cilantro fan). Our take on scallion pancakes is a much less complex process, though it still makes tasty cakes, than the traditional coiling and rolling method. See our Scallion Pancake recipe on this site.

2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cubed*
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) soy sauce**
1/4 cup (1 ounce) cornstarch
2 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) vegetable oil
2 cups (7 to 8 ounces, 2 medium) chopped onions
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) water or chicken broth
2 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) molasses
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) brown sugar
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) rice wine vinegar or white vinegar
2 tablespoons (5/8 ounce) minced fresh or bottled crushed ginger
1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
2 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 to 4 cups (18 to 20 ounces, 2 large) diced sweet potatoes
1 1/2 to 2 cups (8 to 10 ounces) diced red bell pepper
1 1/2 to 2 cups (8 to 10 ounces) diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup (3/4 ounce) fresh cilantro or fresh basil leaves, chopped
toasted sesame oil (optional)

*If pork chops are on sale, they may be the most economical way to go. It's easy to trim their fat and cut chops into pieces. You can also boil any bones in a bit of water, then strain the broth to use as the liquid in the stew.

**Plus extra to add, to taste, near the end of the simmering time.

Trim any excess fat from the meat. Cut it into 1/2-inch cubes, and toss them with the soy sauce, then the cornstarch.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Brown the meat, add the onions, and cook until browned. Pour the water or broth over the meat and onions, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce it to a simmer, and stir in the molasses, brown sugar, vinegar, ginger, hot pepper, garlic, and black pepper. Simmer the stew for 30 minutes or so, until the meat is somewhat tender.

After 30 minutes, add the diced sweet potatoes and simmer, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked. Finally, stir in the red and green peppers, and cook for an additional 10 minutes, till the peppers are crisp-tender. Note: The peppers may be added when you add the sweet potato, but adding them in the final 10 minutes of cooking keeps their color bright and their texture pleasingly crunchy.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the chopped fresh cilantro or basil over the top of each serving of stew, then drizzle with a few drops of sesame oil, if desired, right before serving. Serve the stew with scallion pancakes (recipe below). Yield: 6 to 8 servings, about 1 1/4 cups each.

Nutrition information per serving (1/6 of stew, about 1 1/4 cups, 356g): 544 cal, 31g fat, 31g protein, 25g complex carbohydrates, 10g sugar, 4g dietary fiber, 109mg cholesterol, 590mg sodium, 853mg potassium, 1081RE vitamin A, 120mg vitamin C, 3mg iron, 75mg calcium, 335mg phosphorus.

This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. XII, No. 2, Winter 2002 issue.


  • star rating 11/06/2014
  • Shelley from Santa Clarita, CA
  • This is an excellent recipe. I generally "re-write" most receipes to fit our taste, but not this one - I do add a bit more broth and deglaze with a bit of sherry, But the Stew is excellent as is - it's my BEST find on King Arthur. I dont make the scallion pancakes - we didnt care for them. My husband requests this stew often - i even make it in the horribly hot summers and yes, it's worth it. I made it again for the millionth time last night and he sent a text saying " thank you for making me that stew - it's my favorite and I appreciate it!" - wow - Now that's a good stew!
  • star rating 04/27/2011
  • janetpbenson from KAF Community
  • I used pork chops, as suggested in the recipe. My husband and I both loved it! This has become my new favorite stew!
  • star rating 01/29/2011
  • sarahjeanjedd from KAF Community
  • Unless you're going to use more chicken broth / water, you don't really need 2 lbs of pork. I altered the recipe slightly and used 1 lb of pork tenderloin that was already marinated, eliminating the soy sauce. Also, please note that the combination of ginger, ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes makes the stew very spicy. While I don't have a problem with it, some of my roommates felt it was too much. We didn't eat it with the pancakes, but I would consider making rice or quinoa with it in the future.
  • star rating 01/26/2010
  • Lynne from Rockland MA
  • This is the best. my husband is a finicky eater and he love it and asked me to make it again
  • star rating 12/13/2009
  • Robin from St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
  • I knew before this was even done that it would be added to our top ten favorite meals. The sauce is scrumptious, reminds us of a high-end Chinese restaurant. I did simmer it about twice as long as the recipe specified (adding the peppers right at the end).
  • star rating 02/14/2009
  • Rebecca from Tucson, AZ
  • This came out beautifully, we absolutely love it! Finally, something unique, that did not taste like every other stew I've made before!?** This was so full of flavor, so many kinds, yet they melded together and it was so scrumptious, yum, yum, yum!! I know you'll be happy with it, if you like Oriental food at all. I always use Low-Sodium Soy Sauce, less Salt!!!!! Plus, it's a lighter flavor, I like that! Good Luck and ENJOY!