Wok-Fried Asparagus With Walnuts



Not all asparagus dishes are delicate and subtle. Try this stir-fry to see how well the sweetness of asparagus and spicy bold flavors go together.



·        1 ½ pounds asparagus, pencil-size or medium

·        2 tablespoons vegetable oil

·        Salt

·        ½ teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns, or use black peppercorns

·        ¼ teaspoon five-spice powder

·        1 teaspoon grated garlic

·        2 teaspoons grated ginger

·        1 tablespoon palm sugar or dark brown sugar

·        1 to 2 bird’s-eye chiles, thinly sliced, or use serrano or Fresno chiles

·        2 teaspoons soy sauce

·        ½ cup toasted walnut halves

·        1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

·        3 green onions, slivered

·        Cilantro sprigs, for garnish



1.      Snap off and discard bottoms of asparagus, then cut into 2-inch pieces. (Halve thicker pieces lengthwise first.)

2.      Set a wok over high heat and add vegetable oil. When oil is hot, add asparagus and season lightly with salt. Stir-fry for a minute or so, then add Sichuan pepper, five-spice powder, garlic, ginger, sugar, chiles, soy sauce and walnuts. Continue cooking over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes, tossing to coat well, until asparagus is cooked but still firm and bright green. (It will continue to cook a bit off the heat.)

3.      Transfer asparagus to a serving platter and drizzle with sesame oil. Sprinkle green onions over the top and garnish with cilantro sprigs.




To make your own five-spice powder, combine ground Sichuan pepper, fennel, clove, star anise and cinnamon in equal parts.