Posted by: acooksca | 07/14/2009

Garlic Fried Pork with Bok Choy

Garlic Fried Pork with Bok Choy

Garlic Fried Pork with Bok Choy

In our article Stories from the Last Rural Chinese Town in America, Jone Ho Leong recalls large bowls of pork and vegetable Chop Suey during the 1930’s. It was a versatile dish made with odd cuts of meat and veggies sold for mere pennies. In her later years Jone kept a garden in Locke where she grew vegetables including garlic and bok choy.

There are five Chop Suey recipes in a 1914 cookbook published by two Anglo-Chinese sisters: Chinese-Japanese Cook Book (by Sara Bosse and Onoto Watanna). Each rendition tells the cook to fry small pieces of meat, add chopped onions and celery for a few minutes, add several pounds of bean sprouts and cook for 10 minutes more. Season with soy sauce and salt. Serve with rice.

In the last century, Chop Suey became the first Chinese dish to become recognizable by non-Chinese Americans. Stir fried meat and vegetables in a mild soy sauce based broth was ubiquitous on Chinese Restaurant menus.

Today, our tastes have changed and we seldom look for Chop Suey any more. In this more contemporary recipe we use a better cut of pork, develop the sauce a bit and, taking a cue from Jone’s garden, replace the bean sprouts with bok choy. We hope she would have liked it.

1 pound boneless pork loin or chops
5 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon each salt and black pepper
1 egg white
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice wine (or white wine)

1 pound young bok choy
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon vegetable or peanut oil

Place the pork in the freezer for about 20 minutes or until firm enough to slice thinly. Slice against the grain, 3 inch long by ¼ inch wide, and place in a medium bowl. In a small bowl blend the garlic, seasonings, egg white, tablespoon cornstarch, 2 teaspoons soy and rice wine. Coat the pork in this and let sit refrigerated for 20 minutes.

Slice the bok choy thinly and set aside. In a small bowl combine 1 teaspoon cornstarch with 1 teaspoon water. Stir in the chicken stock, 1 tablespoons soy sauce and sugar.

Heat a large wok or flat bottom skillet over high. When hot add 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Quickly stir fry half of the pork for about 3 minutes, until cooked through. Remove to a plate. Repeat with the rest of the pork. Cooking all the pork at once it could boil the meat in its own juice and toughen rather than brown it.

Wipe out the wok. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Stir fry the bok choy until it wilts, about 2 minutes. Push the bok choy to the edges of the pan making a well in the center and pour in the chicken stock mixture. Stir continually until sauce is thickened, about 30 seconds. Return the pork to the wok and blend with bok choy and sauce. Serve at once with steamed rice.

Serves 4

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