Serves four to six

1½ pounds asparagus, medium or pencil-size

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

6 small dried red peppers

Salt and pepper

½ teaspoon Chinese chili paste

1 teaspoon grated garlic

1 teaspoon grated ginger

½ teaspoon grated orange zest

1 jalapeño or serrano chili, finely chopped

2 teaspoons sesame oil

½ cup roughly chopped cilantro

3 scallions, slivered

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

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

2. Set wok over high heat and add vegetable oil. Add dried peppers and let sizzle, then add asparagus, tossing well to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Stir-fry for a minute or so, then add chili paste, garlic, ginger, orange zest and jalapeño. Continue cooking over high heat for a minute, maybe less, until asparagus is cooked but still firm and bright green. (It will continue cooking off the heat.)

3. Mound asparagus on a serving platter and drizzle with sesame oil. Sprinkle cilantro, green onion and sesame seeds over the top.

David Tanis, The New York Times