Shanghai Stir-Fried Pork and Cabbage

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If you’ve read this little blog for any amount of time over the past year you have probably noticed that I mention China a lot. That’s mostlybecause it seems like Jesse is always there. In 2011 he was there for a grand total of almost 6 months. That’s a lot of time apart. Of course I was happy to get to spend time in China with him last summer but it still seemed like we were apart so much. Now that we know he is going to spend a significant amount of time there again this year, I’m headed back!

This trip is going to be almost 2 months and I couldn’t be more excited. There are only a few weeks before I leave and I have been so busy getting ready for the trip.

With traveling to another country and living out of a hotel for 2 months I probably won’t be cooking much but don’t worry. Part of my getting ready for the trip has been making a plan and building a nice back-log of recipes and pictures so I can continue to post while I’m gone. I’m still deciding exactly how I want spread things out, but I will have recipes to post and I’ll also probably be doing a weekly recap of foodie finds and exciting sites in China. I may have other tricks up my sleeve, but you’ll just have to wait and see. 🙂

I know the food is what really makes a food blog, but I hope you’ll stick with me as I work my way through this craziness. In the meantime I bring you Shanghai Style Stir-Fried Pork and Cabbage to celebrate my traveling to Shanghai.

This recipe jumped right out at me as I was flipping through last months Food & Wine Magazine. Of course I was immediately drawn to the name and the picture sealed the deal for me. The ingredient list might not look that exciting and you may wonder if you should tweak it and make some additions. Trust me, it doesn’t need a load of garlic or dash of ginger. It’s one of those “less is more” kind of things. The pork is juicy, the mushrooms are savory, the cabbage is a little tangy, and it’s all brought together nicely with a simple sauce.


Shanghai Stir-Fried Pork and Cabbage

Ingredients
3/4 pound boneless pork loin, trimmed of fat
8 dried shitake mushrooms
2 tsp corn starch
1 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 cup peanut oil
Kosher salt
1 pound Napa cabbage, halved lengthwise, cored, and cut into thin strips
Cooked rice and Red Chile Sauce for serving

Directions
Place the pork loin in the freezer for 15 minutes to make cutting easier.

While the pork is in the freezer, reconstitute the shitake mushrooms by covering with boiling water and letting stand for 5 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the water and press out the water. Remove stems and cut mushroom caps into strips. Set aside on a paper towel.

In a small bowl whisk together the corn starch, rice vinegar, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oil, pepper and sugar. Remove the pork from the freezer and cut into 1/4″ slices. Stack the slices on top of each other and cut into 1/4″ strips. Place the strips of pork in the sauce and stir to evenly coat.

Heat 2 tablespoons of peanut oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat until the oil just starts to smoke. Using tongs, carefully add the pork strips to the hot oil. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the pork is no longer pink and the edges just start to turn golden brown, using tongs to stir the pork to evenly cook . Remove the pork from the wok and set aside on a paper towel.

Add another tablespoon of oil and a pinch of kosher salt to the wok and allow to heat for about a minute. To the wok, add the shitake mushrooms and half of the cabbage. Stir-fry over high heat until the cabbage has wilted. Return the pork to the pan and add the other half of the cabbage. Cook just until the cabbage is tender, but not completely wilted.

Serve with rice and red chile sauce (I was so hungry I forgot to add the sauce and get a picture, don’t be like me, don’t forget the red chile sauce!).

Source: Food & Wine Magazine, January 2012

Beef With Snow Peas and Baby Corn

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Today I was thinking of Jesse all.day.long. Wondering what the weather was like, how his jet lag was, and of course, what he was eating. I started thinking of all the different kinds of foods he tried the last two times he was in China. I was really proud of him because he really stepped out of his food comfort zone and tried things I had never imagined he would try. And he even liked a lot of them. Another great thing about the food in China is that they use a lot of vegetables, so he started to like a much wider variety.

While all of that was swimming around my head I also started thinking of vegetables, and ginger, and soy sauce. Side note, ironically they don’t use much soy sauce in Shanghai, at least they don’t put it out in restaurants and use it as a condiment like we are so used to in American Chinese restaurants. Jesse says they associate that with being a bad cook or having bad ingredients. Anyways, I then started to crave those things.

I remember seeing this recipe a while back on one of my favorite blogs, the Pioneer Woman. It sounded really good at the time but for whatever reason I didn’t get around to trying it. Finally, after my round about thinking session earlier today, I remembered and decided I had to make this. So really, in a very complicated web of my every day thought process, this meal is all about Jesse and his trip to China. I only wish he were here to enjoy it with me, especially since it was so tasty!


Beef with Snow Peas and Baby Corn
(Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks)

Ingredients

1-½ pound Flank Steak, Trimmed Of Fat And Sliced Very Thin Against The Grain
½ cups Low Sodium Soy Sauce
3 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar (or if you forget to buy this at the store, apple cider vinegar and a splash of white wine)
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1 Tablespoon Minced Fresh Ginger
8 ounce package of Snow Peas and Baby Corn
5 whole Scallions, Cut Into Half-inch Pieces On The Diagonal
3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
Crushed Red Pepper, For Sprinkling
Jasmine Or Long Grain Rice, Cooked According To Package

Directions

In a bowl, mix together soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, cornstarch, and ginger. Add sliced meat to bowl and toss with hands. Set aside.

Heat oil in a wok over high heat. Add snow peas and baby corn and stir for 45 seconds. Remove to a separate plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Set aside.

Allow pan to get very hot again. With tongs, add half the meat mixture, leaving most of the marinade still in the bowl. Add half the scallions. Spread out meat as you add it to pan, but do not stir for a good minute. (You want the meat to get as brown as possible in as short amount a time as possible.) Turn meat to the other side and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove to a clean plate.

Repeat with other half of meat, allowing pan to get very hot again first. After turning it, add the first plateful of meat, the rest of the marinade, and the snow peas. Stir over high heat for 30 seconds, then turn off heat.

Serve immediately over rice. Sprinkle crushed red pepper over the top to give it some spice.