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Easy & Delicious Spicy Pork Stir Fry with Snap Peas

by | Jul 22, 2021 | Recipes

A balance of sweet and spicy with a delightful crunch, this Spicy Pork Stir Fry with Sugar Snap Peas is a favorite 30-minute meal. Ground pork and sugar snap peas are fried in sesame oil. Then, coated in a spicy sweet sauce of gochujang, sriracha, and pineapple teriyaki sauce.

Overhead close up photo of spicy pork with sugar snap peas served with white rice on bluish teal plate.

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I love stir fry dishes because they’re based on a technique that is simple and approachable. It also lends itself to a massive amount of creativity in the kitchen. I also love them because stir fry dishes tend to incorporate the use of an abundance of fresh veggies. This is great because it helps me eat my colors and get added fiber in my daily diet.

Purists will say that you need a wok and a wicked hot flame to truly stir fry. But I, my friends, am a realist. One who doesn’t have time for giant pans that take up ample space in my already tightly packed Brooklyn-based kitchen cabinets.

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INGREDIENTS    SWAPS    TIPS & TRICKS    HOW-TO    RECIPE

Easy & Delicious Spicy Pork Stir Fry with Sugar Snap Peas

To make stir fry at home, you simply need a large skillet, fresh veggies, a hearty protein, a delicious sauce, and some oil. To me, sesame oil is great because I don’t like using a lot of oil when cooking most things and sesame oil packs a punch of flavor in a small amount of oil. The toasty, nutty flavor it imparts to stir fries is also something I prefer. So, I tend to use it despite its low smoke point compared to other more “appropriate” oils.

I mean, I’ve already snubbed my nose at the traditional rules of stir frying, so why stop at the kind of oil I’m supposed to use, right?? If you prefer to break fewer rules, you could opt for a neutral oil with a high smoke point. Canola oil and peanut oil are great neutral, high smoke point options.

My recipe for this spicy pork stir fry is inspired by a subscription meal kit program I tried years ago. Remember when those were all the rage? Home Chef, Hello Fresh, Sun Basket, Freshly, Blue Apron, etc. Being the lover of food that I am, I gave a few of them a try. In one of the dishes, there was this new-to-me ingredient called gochujang. I’d only ever heard of gochujang on cooking shows, but it always sounded interesting.

Close up photo of spicy pork with sugar snap peas and white rice in foreground with a white striped kitchen towel in the background

What is Gochujang?

Gochujang is a paste or sauce made of fermented red chili peppers. It’s a savory, sweet, and spicy condiment that is popular in Korean cuisine. Much like sriracha and sambal, gochujang is used in recipes to bring a flavorful heat to a dish rather than just increase the spiciness alone. Also similar to sriracha and sambal, the heat of gochujang kicked this white girl on her ass at first. However, I was hooked from that first taste.

Since that first taste, I started adding that spicy sweet pepper paste to basically every other stir fry that I made. There are sooooo many stir fry recipes out there for chicken and beef. So, I knew I wanted to experiment with something different.

Balancing the Heat with Some Sweet…Teriyaki That Is

For this version, chose to go with ground pork as my protein. Plus, I feel like we don’t see a lot of pork recipes unless they’re for pork chops or pork loin. I love both of those cuts of pork. But, I feel like ground pork gets left out of the mix unless we’re talking about meatloaf or meatballs.

For the sauce, I wanted something that was sweet and savory that could hold its own with the gochujang. However, I didn’t want it to be so sweet that it overpowered the flavorful heat that the fermented pepper paste brings to the table. I started playing with ratios of sweet, savory, and spicy using the pepper paste, sriracha, fresh garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, teriyaki sauce, ponzu sauce, granulated sugar, and fresh lime juice.

At first, the sugar ratio was too high. I cut back on all sweet elements. Eventually, I cut the hoisin sauce out altogether, as well as the granulated sugar. There was also too much citrus between the ponzu and the fresh lime juice. So, I opted to keep the lime and toss the ponzu. The next time I tried out the dish, I was out of my usual teriyaki sauce (the straight stuff). But, I had a bottle of Lawry’s Teriyaki marinade that’s made with pineapple juice. I decided to give it a whirl and up the amounts of gochujang and sriracha to counterbalance the added sweetness. KA-BLAM! I had found a winning ticket. Hello, flavor bomb!

Close up photo of spicy pork with sugar snap peas served on a bluish plate with white rice in the background.

Crunch Time – Bringing Some Texture to This Spicy Pork Stir Fry

I also knew that I wanted a crunchy element to this dish because it helps mix up the textures in the dish. I tried out five crunchy veggies that I thought would work well: water chestnuts, carrots, broccoli, green beans, and sugar snap peas. The water chestnuts gave too much crunch while the carrots took too long to cook. Broccoli tasted great in this dish, but it didn’t have the amount of crunch I desired.

I’ll admit it, I was starting to lose a little hope at this point and wonder if I’d find something that worked. Next, I tried fresh green beans and sugar snap peas. The green beans had the pluses of visual cues like the broccoli and provided a better crunch. However, it was the sugar snap peas that were the best option. Sugar snap peas have the color changes as the veggie is cooking that are easy for novice cooks to see. Plus, sugar snap peas cook quickly, bring BIG crunch, and give good visual cues—making them great for a cook of every skill level.

Gonna try out this recipe?

Leave a star rating or review in the comments to let me know what you think!

Ingredients For Easy & Delicious Spicy Pork Stir Fry with Snap Peas

  • Ground Pork – This savory protein brings a fair share of fat to the pan, hence not as much of a need for oil for cooking.
  • Sugar Snap Peas – Brings great crunch (even when slightly overcooked) to this dish to ensure a variety of texture.
  • Green Onions – The white part is used as a savory element in the meat/veg mixture and the green tops are used for garnish.
  • Garlic – This is a key savory element that hangs out in the background instead of the foreground on the palate.
  • Sesame Oil – Coats the ground pork in a toasty, nutty flavor and helps get the pork browned and crispy more quickly.
  • Gochujang – Sweet, savory, spicy flavor bomb that brings depth and complexity to the sauce of this dish.
  • Sriracha – Enhances the fresh garlic and brings up the heat index on this dish.
  • Pineapple Teriyaki Sauce – A savory and sweet element you can certainly taste in the sauce that balances but does not overpower the heat from the sriracha and gochujang. I like Lawry’s Teriyaki Marinade with pineapple juice.
  • Lime Juice – Brings a zesty brightness to the sauce that plays well against the spicy elements.
  • Soy Sauce – The salty, umami that brings everything together.

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Pinterest Recipe Pin image for Spicy Pork Stir Fry with Snap Peas.

Ingredient Swaps & Variations

  • Turkey or Chicken – If pork is something you don’t like or eat, try swapping it out for ground turkey or chicken.
  • Green Beans – Can’t find sugar snap peas? No problem, runner up in crunch was green beans and brings enough noticeable crunch to be a good swap.
  • Shallots or Sweet Onion – Green onions are mild in onion flavor, so another onion option I would recommend would be shallots. If neither of those are available, I would go for a sweet onion like Vidalia.
  • Garlic Powder – Fresh is best here. If you don’t have any on hand, then I would opt for 1 teaspoon of garlic powder over dehydrated garlic because the dehydrated garlic will soak up the sauce leaving less sauciness for your meat/veg mixture.
  • Canola Oil or Peanut Oil – If you don’t like it or can’t find it, then opt for a neutral oil like canola oil or peanut oil. If you want some sesame taste but can’t find the oil, garnish your dish before serving with toasted sesame seeds on top.
  • Additional Sriracha – Gochujang can be hard to find in person, so I suggest ordering it online here. But, if you’re not ready for an adventure in fermented pepper paste, you could swap it out for additional sriracha and then increase the pineapple teriyaki by a tablespoon.
  • Chili Garlic Sauce, Sambal, or Your Favorite Hot Sauce– These days lots of brands are making their version of the original rooster sauce, but if you can’t find a sriracha sauce, then you could always replace this with a chili sauce like Huy Fong’s Chili Garlic Sauce or their Sambal Oelek. If you can’t find either of those, then add some heat using your favorite hot sauce.
  • Regular Teriyaki Sauce – No Lawry’s Teriyaki marinade with pineapple juice near you? That’s ok, just use regular teriyaki sauce and add in 2 tablespoons of pineapple juice.
  • Lime Concentrate – If you don’t have fresh on hand, it’s ok to use the stuff in a plastic bottle. No lime juice on hand? Try lemon then…the taste will be a little different, but the main thing is you want a citrus element in the sauce for the acidity that plays well against the spicy ingredients.
  • Tamari Sauce or Coconut Aminos – Soy sauce can be swapped out for tamari sauce or coconut aminos.

Recipe Tips & Tricks

Too Much Heat? – If this spicy pork stir fry is too spicy for you, try adding in a pinch of white granulated sugar to tamp down the spice level.

What to Remember – Even though this stir fry isn’t done in the “traditional” style, ingredients will still cook quickly so it’s best to have everything ready to be quickly added to the pan as you’re cooking. This means prepping your veg before you begin cooking anything. There will be time to make the sauce while the pork cooks, but if you want to make the sauce before you cook too, that’s a great idea.

What to Avoid – Avoid overcooking the sugar snap peas. Watch the sugar snap peas as they cook and you will see them go from a dull green to a vibrant bright green. This vibrant bright green means they are cooked and ready to eat. As soon as you see the sugar snap peas this vibrant bright green, add in your sauce mixture and follow the rest of the recipe directions.

Ways to Use Spicy Pork Stir Fry with Snap Peas Leftovers – Sounds gross, but I like heating some leftovers through in a small pan and then adding in a couple eggs and scrambling everything together. I then either eat this as is or plate it on a couple of taco sized tortillas and add a few dashes of hot sauce on top.

Spicy pork with sugar snap peas topped with green onions and sesame seeds and a side of white rice on a bluish plate.

Recipe Notes

Storage – Store leftovers of this Spicy Pork Stir Fry with Snap Peas in an airtight glass or plastic container in the fridge. Leftovers will last up to 7 days.

Reheating – Leftovers reheat well both in the microwave and on the stove top. Personally, I prefer using the stove top because when heated in the microwave, sometimes the sugar snap peas lose a little too much of their crunch for my liking.

Freezing – Leftovers of this spicy pork stir fry can be frozen for use at a later time. Simply transfer leftovers to an airtight container. Frozen leftovers will last 2-3 months.

Servings & Nutrition – One serving of this spicy pork stir fry is 3/4 cup. This recipe makes 4 servings. Each serving has approximately 407 calories, 11 g of carbohydrates, 33 g of protein, 25 g of fat, and 5 g of sugar. For the full recipe and additional nutritional information, please see the recipe card below.

How to Make Easy & Delicious Spicy Pork Stir Fry with Snap Peas

Step 1. Rinse your sugar snap peas and pat dry with a towel. Cut off the ends of the peas and then cut peas into ½-inch long segments. (If you want to make them look a little fancy, cut them at an angle).

Step 2. Slice your onions, separating the whites from the green tops. The white parts will be cooked with the pork and sugar snap peas while the green parts will be used for garnish. (If you want the green parts to look a little fancy, slice them up at an angle).

Step 3. Add the sesame oil to a large skillet over high heat. Let oil warm through for 1-2 minutes. Then, add in the pork and use a spatula to break the pork into bite-sized pieces. Cook pork through until it begins to brown, approximately 5 minutes.

Step 4. While pork is cooking, add garlic, gochujang, sriracha sauce, teriyaki sauce, lime juice, and soy sauce to a small bowl and stir to mix thoroughly. Taste sauce to test spice level; add up to 1 pinch sugar (or more to taste) to tame heat level if needed. Set sauce aside.

Step 5. Add the whites of the green onions to the pork in the skillet and cook about 3 minutes. Then, add sugar snap peas to pork mixture and continue cooking about 5 minutes or until the sugar snap peas are a bright, vibrant green color. Sugar snap peas will be softened at this point, but still retain their crunch.

Step 6. Pour sauce mixture over the pork and sugar snap peas and stir to thoroughly coat the mixture. Continue cooking 3-5 minutes to heat the sauce through, then serve with white rice or over rice noodles.

Spicy pork and sugar snap peas on a bluish teal plate served with white rice.

If you make this recipe, tag me in your photos on Instagram—I love seeing what you guys decided to make!

Frequently Asked Questions

I can’t eat pork. What other types of meat go well in this stir fry?

I’ve tried ground beef, ground chicken, and ground turkey. All of them were tasty swaps for the ground pork in this recipe.

If I freeze leftover stir fry, will the sugar snap peas get mushy?

Yes and no. It depends on how you choose to reheat the stir fry. Here’s the best method I’ve found for keeping as much of the crunch as possible. First, let the frozen stir fry defrost in the fridge. Then, bring the thawed stir fry out of the fridge and let it sit on your kitchen counter for 30-45 minutes before you’re ready to eat. This will help bring the temperature up in a way that you don’t have to subject the stir fry leftovers to high heat very long. Once you’re ready to eat, heat the stir fry in a pan over high or medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready because the sauce loosens up and the pork and snap peas will be slightly shiny from the sauce.

Is there a way to make this stir fry vegetarian?

Sure, swap the ground pork for additional veggies like green beans, julienned carrots, and broccoli to give it some bulk. Or, if you want the mouthfeel of meat without actual meat in the stir fry, replace the ground pork with tofu crumbles.

Other Recipes You May Enjoy

spicy pork with sugar snap peas served with white rice on teal plate

Easy & Delicious Spicy Pork with Sugar Snap Peas

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

A great recipe for meal prep or a quick weeknight dinner, this ground pork and sugar snap pea stir fry is a balance of sweet and spicy with a delightful crunch.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • ½ lb sugar snap peas, trimmed and cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced with whites separated from greens
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic (jarred ok)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp gochuchang paste or sauce
  • 2 tsp sriracha sauce
  • 3 tbsp pineapple teriyaki sauce
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp soy sauce

Instructions

1. Add the sesame oil to a large skillet over high heat. Let oil warm through for 1-2 minutes.

2. Add in the pork and use a spatula to break the pork into bite-sized pieces. Cook pork through until it begins to brown, approximately 5 minutes.

3. Add garlic, gochujang, sriracha sauce, teriyaki sauce, lime juice, and soy sauce to a small bowl and stir to mix thoroughly. Taste sauce to test spice level; add up to 1 pinch sugar (or more to taste) to tame heat level if needed. Set sauce aside.

4. Add the whites of the green onions to the pork in the skillet and cook about 3 minutes.

5. Add sugar snap peas to pork mixture and continue cooking about 5 minutes or until the sugar snap peas are a bright, vibrant green color.

6. Pour sauce mixture over the pork and sugar snap peas and stir to thoroughly coat the mixture. Continue cooking 3-5 minutes to heat the sauce through, then serve with white rice or over rice noodles.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 407Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 107mgSodium: 427mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 33g

This nutrition data is provided and calculated by Nutritionix. Please keep in mind that your specific nutritional values may vary based on the brand of ingredients you use to make this recipe.

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Hey there! I’m Krystal, the sassy-mouthed, self-taught, home cook behind the content here at Sweet, Savory & Sassy. I have a deep love for sharing food with people and showing folks just how easy it really is to make dishes that will bring a little extra joy to those you love. There’s nothing like making something special for friends and family and seeing their face light up in delight during that first bite!
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