This ginger and carrot stir-fry is a weeknight meal made with matchsticks of (you guessed it!) ginger and carrot along with pork, ginger, chiles, and soy sauce. A Chinese inspired tangle of ingredients that’s easy, healthy, and on the table in half an hour.
There’s nothing wallflowerish about the warming potency of ginger. The tongue-tingling, sinus-clearing, tummy-settling, breathtakingly rollercoaster-like rhizome lends oomph even in small doses, let alone in large quantities as in this stir-fry. Those with an unabashed thing for its gingery zing will swoon to this recipe’s zippadeedooda. If you’re not an unabashed devotee of ginger, bear in mind that the carrots’ sweetness tones the potency of the ginger down a notch or three. And those not so into pork will find that situation easily remedied as it can be omitted if you desire; the dish will lack a little of its savory complexity though none of its warmth.–Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
☞ Table of Contents
Ginger and Carrot Stir-Fry
- About 1/3 pound ginger (pretty much an entire hand or branch or whatever you call those things)
- About 2/3 pound carrots
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil or lard
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/3 pound boneless pork butt, shoulder, or loin thinly sliced and cut into 1/2-by-1 1/2 -inch strips
- 2 whole green cayenne chili peppers or 3 dried red chili peppers
- 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste (optional)
- 1 cup cold water
- 10 to 12 Szechuan peppercorns (may substitute jalapeno for milder heat or Serrano for slightly more heat) or 3 dried red chilis
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or to taste
- Cooked white or brown rice for serving
- Peel the ginger and cut it lengthwise in half before cutting the pieces lengthwise into narrower strips the size of matchsticks. (You should have about 1 cup of ginger sticks.) Do the same with the carrots. (You should have about 1 3/4 cups carrot sticks.)
- Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the oil or lard and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Toss in the garlic and stir-fry for 10 seconds or so, then toss in the pork and chilis. Stir-fry the ingredients, separating the pork so each slice gets exposed to the hot pan, until they’ve started to change color all over. This should take less than 2 minutes.
- Toss in the carrots and ginger and stir-fry for about 1 minute. Add the salt, if desired, and stir-fry for another minute.
- Add the water, cover, and boil vigorously for about 3 minutes, then remove the lid and let the liquid boil down for a minute or two.
- Add the Sichuan peppercorns and soy sauce. Stir-fry just until the carrots and ginger are tender but still a touch firm, about a minute. Turn the stir-fry onto a platter or into a shallow bowl and serve hot or warm with rice.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This ginger and carrot stir-fry was fabulous. The sweetness of carrots with the spice of ginger brought together with red chile pepper and Szechuan peppercorns was amazing. I loved the sauce and poured it over brown jasmine rice. The dish was warm and comforting. I would definitely make it again.
We love this stir-fry. It does take some time to chop all the carrots and ginger, but the rest goes very quickly (as with any other stir-fry, it’s all about the prep work and speed). The sweet carrots are great with the ginger and the added heat from the chili. The sauce was a little salty by itself, but was just right when eaten with plain rice.
I went to one of the Asian grocery stores in town to buy Szechuan peppercorns, and learned that they are not always labeled as such. Mine came in a package that said “Red Peppercorns” in English, but “Szechuan Peppercorns” (or rather “Flower Pepper”) in Chinese. Open red husks with tiny black berries are what you’re looking for.
I was taken aback by the amount of ginger in this dish — it is about a whole hand of ginger. But because the ginger gets simmered for a while, the flavor mellows. There is no thickener in the dish, so you do end up with a kind of soupy broth, which is delicious and homey.
I would only call it a weeknight dish if I took a few shortcuts. There’s an awful lot of ginger and carrot to cut into matchsticks, so I might pull out the mandoline next time instead of doing it all by hand.
Also, I would substitute ground pork for the strips of shoulder. I wasn’t able to get such a small quantity of pork shoulder, so I used a loin chop instead. But that was really too lean for this dish. I think if you can’t get shoulder, using ground pork would be both easier and tastier than a leaner cut.
This was delicious served over rice. Be sure you get some of the juices on your rice. It’s a very fragrant dish from the ginger, which lends loads of yummy flavor.
The hardest part of this dish is cutting the carrots into matchsticks. This could have been faster had I remembered to use my mandoline. Once you get all the prep work done, this one is a breeze to make and delicious to eat.
I didn’t use the pork since I already had all the rest of the ingredients on hand. I opted for the lard since I didn’t have pork.
I used a jalapeño, but I’m not sure it added much, since it was left whole. Next time I think I’ll at least cut it in half. As for the salt, I only used a pinch and think it was plenty with the soy sauce.
A little more ginger than suits my preference, but this combination of ingredients was a keeper at our house and we will make it again.
I am Cantonese and stir-fries were the first things I learned to make as a child, so I must say it was odd for me to look at this recipe and see that the pork is basically stir-fried dry, instead of marinating it in a mix of oil, soy sauce, salt, and usually a dash of sugar. I followed the instructions and was fine with the results, but I think next time I will marinate the meat with the seasonings first, and I’ll use both dark and light soy sauces to add more depth of flavor. I used thinly sliced, almost-shredded pork loin.
Additionally, I would add the chilies (we used jalapenos) and Sichuan peppercorns to the hot oil oil in the first step to release their flavors into the oil before proceeding with the rest of the recipe. The Sichuan peppercorns’ herbal fragrance, in particular, would benefit from this treatment.
This is a warm and surprisingly satisfying autumn dish. The sweetness of the carrots combined with the tang and heat of the ginger is a wonderful pair. The pork and chilis lend extra layers to the flavor of the whole meal. This is easily a good weeknight dinner.
I peeled the ginger with a vegetable peeler. While the prep took nearly 40 minutes, the resulting dish was worth the effort. The stir-fry had great texture. I thought it a little strange to add whole chilies to the stir-fry, but it worked. I will probably do some research on selecting ginger. Some of the ginger was bright and fresh-tasting, while some other bits were bitter.
I will be using this recipe again.
I loved this recipe for so many reasons, not the least of which is the abundance of healthy ginger! I thought the heat of the ginger and the spice combined with the sweetness of the carrots and the salt of the soy sauce was divine.
I did not use the pork, as I don’t eat much meat, but I could imagine this being a main course with it. I will be trying it next time with the pork.
By the way, I julienned the items by hand, but will be using my mandoline or the julienne blade of my Cuisinart next time. The ginger knob was fist-sized…and look for a fresh one as it definitely makes a difference!
Carrots are a staple in my kitchen and I was delighted to try this new way of preparing them. I left out the pork and there was plenty of flavor without it. The ginger and peppers make this dish quite spicy but it’s delicious! I’ll certainly be making this one over and over again.
Okay, so this recipe needs a warning label, ”Do not make as written unless you really love ginger!!!” With that out of the way, I think this recipe does work and it is really simple to churn out in a hurry. I made this in about 45 minutes and that was using a mandoline that I’m pretty handy with. All that ginger takes a while to work through. When I make this again I’ll probably cut the ginger in half or slightly more and add some mushrooms to the mix, but that’s adjusting the recipe to my taste. I think cutting the salt in half worked out about right for me—I didn’t add more at the end.
The recipe was clearly written and for so few ingredients it had really good flavor, so it gets my stamp of approval.
Loaded with spice, garlic, ginger, Szechuan pepper, and chilis, this stir fry looked like my kind of dish. And it was, with one big caveat. I thought over 5 ounces of ginger rather an alarming amount, even as slices, and held back a bit using only about half to start. As it turned out, for my tastes anyway, that was plenty. The best thing about this recipe is its simplicity. Even with all the slicing, it can be thrown together in the time it takes to steam a pot of rice. You’ll definitely want rice to soak up all the delicious sauce.
I would also caution to watch the salt since soy is added at the very end. Despite those minor adjustments, the recipe was spot on and easy to follow.
I wondered about adding only water to make the sauce, as opposed to a stock, but it worked just fine, letting the pork, garlic, and ginger flavors dominate. The carrots added a touch of sweetness which brought the dish together nicely.
I like more vegetables in my stir fries and this one is easily adaptable to the addition of broccoli or maybe asparagus or onions.
Originally published January 05, 2020