1/2 cup chicken stock
2 T soy sauce
1 T Mirin rice wine
1 T oyster sauce
1 T dark sesame oil*
1 t hot chili oil, optional*
2 T coconut palm sugar
4 scallions, white and light green part sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 t ginger, minced
2 T peanut oil
1 lb lean ground pork
8 oz to 1 lb baby bok choy, sliced crosswise into 2 inch widths
4 oz snow peas, sliced on the diagonal
1 (8 oz) can water chestnuts, sliced
for a lighter flavor, omit the chili oil and dark sesame oil. Instead use only 1 1/2 teaspoons of hot sesame oil. The brand I like is Luxuriant.
Garnish: crushed red pepper flakes and 2 scallions, chopped
Spoon Mage™ Note:
This is a great recipe to experiment with the different flavors and textures of the many varieties of bok choy. Hopefully you have an Asian market near you. If so, go. Wander around. So many beautiful bok choy! For the dish in this picture, I used one of the baby varieties (yes, there are several types and they are all delicious). You can make this dish with 8 oz or even a full pound. Bok choy is like spinach in that it wilts when it woks so what seems like a great lot is really not that much at all. Make it with whatever amount you like or can find in your store.
Far too many recipes have you start the wok off at medium-high. This is great if you like a soggy stir-fry. Why? Each time you add the ingredients to the wok, the cooking temperature drops a little. Veggies in particular love being cooked at high – or as near high as you can bring yourself to go. Only reduce to medium-high to avoid smoky oil. A good rule of thumb is to reduce the temperature to medium high after you have added about half the ingredients. Learn to use your eyes and nose of the directions for when to reduce to medium-high. Stoves do seem to have a unique level of high.
To wok, use two wooden spoons and get them both moving slowly throughout the dish in a lift and fold method. If the food is to cook but not brown, stir slowly but constantly. If your dinner needs to brown a bit (such as the pork here), allow 20 seconds or so every now lifting and folding again so the ingredients sit in contact with the wok and sear. Watch for the change in the pork and exuded liquid The meat will tell you when it is ready to crisp!
Never ever leave a wok unattended. Prep everything first and set it all out before beginning.
Oh, and make sure the rice is ready and on hold before you begin wokking. It will be fine sitting with the lid on.
In a small bowl, combine the chicken stock, soy sauce, rice wine, oyster sauce, chili oil, sesame oil, and coconut palm sugar.
Mince the scallions, garlic, and ginger and place in a separate small bowl.
Remove the ground pork from the refrigerator. Use your fingers and break the meat up into small chunks, reserve in a bowl.
Rinse and gently shake the baby bok choy. Slice on the diagonal into 4 inch pieces and place in a bowl. Yes, you use the green and white part.
If your snow peas are older or simply too big, they may have strings to remove. So do so and then rinse and slice the snow peas on the diagonal and place in a bowl. Many packages of pease are 6 oz. If you love snow peas, add the whole thing. You only need 3 oz to accent the dish with a slight crunch of peas, but more is remarkably tasty and healthy.
Open and drain the can of water chestnuts – love water chestnuts? Add a second can. Pour them in to the bowl of snow peas.
Line up the ingredients near the wok in order of wokking appearance:
oil, pork, 2 wok spoons (or 2 wooden spoons), pork, scallions/garlic/ginger, baby bok choy, the sauce, snow peas, and water chestnuts.
Set a wok over high heat and wait patiently until the wok is very hot. Add 1 T of the peanut oil, reserve the second tablespoon, and swirl to coat the bottom of the wok with oil. Wait 30 seconds. Remember, the temperature drops with each ingredient addition and the oil counts!
Add the pork to the wok, stirring to break up the biggest pieces with the wok spoons.
Before the pork turns crispy and brown, it will give up a little liquid. Let it bubble away while you stir. It will take a couple minutes.
While the meat is giving off liquid, stir it slowly, but almost constantly. You should hear a nice sizzle when the meat is ready to brown.
Pause a moment between stirs. About 20 seconds between stirs should be just right. Spread out the meat between each stir. The pause allows the meat to sear as it lingers on the wok. Your pork should brown in about 2-3 minutes. If you started on medium high, this step will take a lot longer, be patient, and next time, put the wok over high heat.
When the pork has quite a lot of beautiful crispy browned parts, add the remaining oil, scallions, ginger, and garlic. Stir constantly for 20 seconds.
Add the bok choy, and toss gently.
Please do not answer the phone or you will burn the garlic and bok choy. Stir, tossing the ingredients slowly and pretty much constantly until the bok choy leaves wilt a bit. This will take about 2 minutes.
Add the sauce to the wok, stirring with the wok spoons until everything is combined. Reduce wok temperature to medium-high now, or things may get smoky. Simmer for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the snow peas and water chestnuts. Simmer for about 4 minutes.
This is a good time to get everything ready for the table.
Stir and taste a snow pea every now and then until they are crisp, but tender to the bite. Remove from heat.
Serve immediately with hot rice and a few pork dumplings or easy make ahead cold Asian noodles.