Thursday, November 05, 2009

Pork and Bok Choy Stir-Fry...

After an afternoon filled with errands and running around, I made sure to pick a recipe for dinner tonight that wouldn't involve too much, hoping to leave us with time to sit down and relax! A snazzy stir-fry sounded good when I was menu planning and I was only going to need to pick up one ingredient to get this Pork and Bok Choy Stir-Fry on the table this evening.

Once the sliced onions had enough time to take their raw edge off, the ingredient I needed to pick up, bok choy, was stirred in to soften. Before tossing it in, we trimmed the bok choy and sliced the vegetable into long, thin strips. Besides helping the strips to cook evenly, having it in this shape will mimic the noodles, allowing the two to evenly combine and unite together. The pork is added next, but to help the protein cook quickly, we first sliced the lean tenderloin into thick matchsticks. Along with the pork, a few cloves of chopped garlic and dollop of chile-garlic sauce were added right in.

With the pork in strips, it took just a couple minutes before it had cooked enough to bring the sauce into the party, which was a slick combo of water, Shao Hsing, soy sauce and a touch of cornstarch. Shao Hsing, in case you didn't know, is just a rice wine - you should be able to pick up an your local Asian market or even the international section of your grocery store, but if you can't seem to get your hands on a bottle, dry sherry would be a good swap.

As soon as the sauce had thickened, clinging itself to the pork mixture, we finished the dish by pouring it over a mound of nutty soba noodles. Because the stir-fry comes together in a flash, plus we wanted to keep our attention focused, we actually cooked those noodles just before starting the dish and rinsed them in cool water so they wouldn't end up clumped together.

I thought this was pretty good, but I do think there could have been a couple extra steps added that would have made a difference. If I were to do this again, I think I'd work with the strips of pork first, browning them a bit, then take them out and add them back in with the sauce to warm through. As instructed, the meat is fine and tender, but with it being cooked in a fairly juicy mixture, it lacked a depth that could have easily been attained. I also think a textural crunch would have been nice - maybe solve that with some chopped peanuts thrown on top before serving? Even though we've had bok choy once or twice, Jeff couldn't remember if he liked it or not, so he was a little apprehensive about it at first (he said it "looked slimy" - I think that had to do more with the fairly clear sauce though...). He changed his tune after trying it and gave it a thumbs up!

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