This stir-fried pork, bok choy and tofu is really more than just a stir-fry because it combines four basic cooking techniques — browning, braising, sautéing and stir frying. Browning gives the meat better texture, braising makes it tender without creating a soupy mixture, sautéing with aromatics gives depth of flavor without liquefying the aromatics and stir frying cooks the bok choy sufficiently without turning the leaves into a limp and sorry-looking mess.
Bok choy? Isn’t that pechay in the photos? Yes, you can call it pei tsai too. Bottom line, it is Chinese cabbage. Bok choy has many similar looking and tasting siblings, and using any one of those will work. Click on that link.
That said, after posting this recipe, we’re back to our Fringe marathon. We’ve been watching Fringe for three nights in a row hoping to see every single episode from Seasons 1 through 4 before Season 5 begins. Just so we don’t get lost in the mind-bending storylines which, to me, are more worth pondering and discussing than whether pechay is bok choy or pei tsai or pak choy. Yes, I like mind-benders and pechay just doesn’t fit into the category.
- 100 to 150 g. of tofu, soft or firm, lightly fried
- 2 tbsps. of cooking oil
- 200 g. of pork belly, cut into bite-sized pieces
- soy sauce
- black pepper
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 to 3 tbsps. of oyster sauce
- a bunch of bok choy, cut into 2-inch lengths, stalks and leaves separated
- Browning the meat. Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan or wok. Add the pork in a single layer and cook over high heat until browned. Flip to brown evenly.
- Braising the meat. Pour in a few splashes of soy sauce, season with black pepper and a pinch or two of sugar, and add about a cup of water. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer until tender and the liquid has reduced to almost nothing. Depending on the quality of the meat, the cooking time can be anywhere from ten to 30 minutes and you may need to add more water if the pork is rather though and requires extended cooking time. Adjust the seasonings too from time to time as the pork cooks.
- By the time the pork is done and the liquid has evaporated, the pork should have also rendered some fat. You can throw the fat away and add a tablespoon of cooking oil to do the next steps. I have to point out thought that the rendered fat is so rich in flavor.
- Sauteing the meat and aromatics. Add the garlic and sliced onion to the pork. Over medium heat, sauté until fragrant, about a minute.
- Stir-frying everything. Pour in the oyster sauce. Add the bok choy stalks. The pechay will expel water as it cooks so don’t panic if the mixture appears too dry and about to get burnt. Cook, stirring often, for about a minute.
- Add the bok choy leaves (more water will be expelled so you’ll have more sauce than you might have thought) and the cooked tofu. Cook, with occasional light stirring, for another minute.
- Serve the stir-fried pork, bok choy and tofu hot with rice.