Simple Spicy Asparagus in a Wok

1 1/2 pounds asparagus, medium- or pencil-size
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 small dried red peppers
Salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon Chinese chile paste
1 teaspoon grated garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 jalapeño or serrano chile, finely chopped
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
3 green onions, slivered
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

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

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 chile 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.)

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

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