The sugar snap pea, also called ‘snap pea’, is a cross between a snow pea & your bog-standard green pea. What’s so fabulous about snap peas is the whole pea – pod & all, is eaten, this means exceptional crunch & speedy prep work, requiring little more than being topped & tailed.
Because you want to maintain the wonderful texture, snap peas are best eaten raw or with hot, quick cooking such as stir-frying, blanching, steaming or grilling. I love this recipe – Grilled Sugar Snap Peas with Smoked Aioli, for an appetizer. To use snap peas for a side, try Mint & Walnut Pesto Sugar Snap Peas – mint, nuts & snap peas are brilliant together. Quick & Easy Pea & Shrimp Green Curry is a winner for busy weeknights. Or for a snack, try snap peas with 3 White Bean Dips. Blanching the snap peas for salads helps to bring out their vibrant green, so learn proper blanching techniques here.
Snap peas are easy to grow requiring just a small amount of space in the veggie garden & a trellis. Once the snap peas have reached about 10 inches in height they need something to climb. I use some thin posts & string to train them. Keep in mind when you make your trellis – they do grow anywhere from four to six feet tall so allow at least four feet of trellis height. Snap peas are also quite fast growing. Ready for harvest in about 60 days I’ve found picking them while they’re still small means they’ll be very tender.
It’s not too late to plant some peas as they do like a little cooler weather…I know how they feel.
Nutritionally snap peas are lower in carbs than their counterparts the shelling pea – about 10.5g carbs per cup & 60 calories. They’re high in fiber, a good source of vitamin C, folate, iron & potassium. For those wanting to lose weight, snap peas make a good snack raw.
As I mentioned, snap peas are perfect for stir-frying. This peppery, Hoisin Sticky Pork & Pea Stir-Fry – sticky hoisin sauce, tender pork slices, a little heat from some chili paste & pepper & crunch of the peas, is a delicious & quick weeknight main. With a handful of ingredients it comes together fast & showcases the snap pea beautifully.
peppery hoisin pork & pea stir-fry
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sambal oelek
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus extra 1/2 to 1 teaspoon, optional
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 1/2 lbs thinly sliced pork such as pork shoulder (butt), tenderloin, center cut (750g)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons finely grated ginger
- 8 oz sugar snap peas, trimmed (250g)
- 1 medium onion, peeled & cut into wedges
- steamed jasmine rice, to serve
- Combine hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, sambal, sugar, vinegar & 1 teaspoon of pepper in a small bowl; set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large wok or frying pan over high heat. Cook pork for 3 to 5 minutes, in two or three batches until browned. Remove from wok & set aside.
- Add a little more oil if necessary. Add garlic, ginger & peas. Stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes until peas are turning bright green.
- Add the onion, remaining pepper & pork; stir-fry until combined.
- Pour in sauce mixture; Stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes or until pork is hot & cooked. Serve with rice. Serves 4 to 5.