Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Pork and Broccoli Stir-Fry Recipe with Ginger and Hoisin Sauce

Stir-Fry with Pork and BroccoliI've been a fan of Asian cooking for quite a while, and I bought my first wok in the 80's when I took a class in Chinese cooking taught by a visiting professor from China. From that class I got a collection of very authentic Chinese recipes written in somewhat halting English, as well as a good understanding of the techniques involved in stir-frying. Recently I replaced my current wok with a shiny new non-stick one which was deep and heavy, and I quickly started thinking about stir-frying more often. However, if you don't have a wok, not to worry. You can make this dish in any kind of heavy, deep frying pan.

One of the most important Chinese cooking techniques I learned was called "seasoning the oil." For every stir-fry dish, our teacher would get the oil very hot in the wok, then throw in a couple of pieces of sliced garlic and ginger root and cook just until they were fragrant. I doubt I've ever made a stir-fry without doing that, heavy on the ginger, since it's one of my favorite flavors. Ginger is technically a spice, not an herb, and the gnarly part that's edible is technically a rhizome, not a root, but most people can agree that the flavor is a great addition to many different cuisines all around the world. Ginger is one of the World's Healthiest Foods, and has been used since ancient times to relieve gastrointestinal distress. It also contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols which can provide pain relief and may inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Ginger is the plant I'm featuring this week for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted back at Kalyn's Kitchen again this week.

Here are the basic rules for stir-frying I learned so many years ago:
  1. Preheat the wok (or pan) before you add the oil.
  2. Season the oil (add slices of fresh garlic cloves and ginger root and stir-fry very briefly, just until they become fragrant.)
  3. Remember the importance of symmetry of cut (all pieces should be the same size for stir-fry cooking.)
  4. Have all ingredients cut and sauces mixed before you start to cook.
  5. Use very high heat and cook fast.

Cut pork into same-size strips and let it marinate in a mixture of soy sauce, sherry, and cornstarch while you prep the other ingredients.

Wash broccoli and cut into same size pieces. To prevent little crumbles of broccoli, cut through the stem and them pull the heads apart. (I don't remember where I learned that trick, but I love it!)

Don't forget to pre-heat the wok before adding the oil. (Don't you just love the looks of my new wok?)

Add the peanut oil and let it heat until it looks shimmery, then add the garlic and ginger and cook about 30 seconds to "season the oil." It's important to remove all this before it gets brown or it can make the oil taste bitter.

Add broccoli to the hot wok and cook about 3 minutes, stirring often. (Some Asian cookbooks say to use a bit of water and put the lid on the wok to steam the vegetables, but I like to keep them more crispy.)

Remove broccoli to a plate, add a tiny bit more oil and then add pork with marinating liquid and cook 3-4 minutes, until it's firm and slightly browned.

If you're using fresh minced ginger and garlic, add it and cook about 1 minute before adding the rest of the sauce. If you're lazy like me and use garlic and ginger puree from a jar, it can be stirred into the sauce. Cook vegetables with the sauce for only about 1-2 minutes more so the broccoli stays crisp.

Pork and Broccoli Stir-Fry with Ginger and Hoisin Sauce
(Makes about 3-4 servings, recipe slightly adapted from The Sugar Solution Cookbook.)

1 lb. pork tenderloin (2 boneless pork loin chops were perfect)
2 T soy sauce
1 T dry sherry
1 T cornstarch (or arrowroot starch)
4 cups broccoli flowerets, cut into same size pieces
1-2 T peanut oil (depending on your pan)
4-5 slices fresh ginger root
4-5 sliced garlic cloves

Sauce Ingredients:
2 tsp. ginger puree (also called ground ginger, or use finely minced fresh ginger root)
2 tsp. garlic puree (also called ground garlic, or use finely minced garlic cloves)
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 T Hoisin sauce
pinch of red pepper flakes or a few shakes or Sriracha sauce

Trim all visible fat from pork chops and cut into strips about 1/2 inch thick and 2-3 inches long. Combine soy sauce, dry sherry, and cornstarch in bowl and add the pork strips. Stir to coat pork and let marinate while you prep the other ingredients.

Wash broccoli and cut into same-sized flowerets, keeping a few inches of stem on the pieces. If using ginger and garlic puree, combine with chicken stock, Hoisin sauce, and hot sauce or pepper flakes. (If using freshly minced ginger and garlic, keep them out of the sauce so they can have a minute or so of extra cooking time.)

Have all ingredients ready and turner and serving plate ready before you begin to stir-fry.

Heat wok over high flame or hot burner about 1 minute, until it feels hot if you put your hand over the wok. Add 1 T peanut oil and heat until the oil looks shimmery, then add garlic and ginger root slices and cook 30 seconds to one minute, just until you start to smell the garlic and ginger. Be careful to remove every bit of ginger and garlic or it will make the oil taste bitter.

Add broccoli and stir-fry, stirring often, for about 3 minutes, or until broccoli turns bright green and is barely getting tender. Remove broccoli to a plate. Add a bit more oil if needed, heat about 30 seconds, then add pork and marinating liquid. Stir-fry pork about 3-4 minutes, until it's firm and slightly browned. (If using freshly minced garlic and ginger, add now and cook about 1 minute.) Add broccoli and sauce and cook about 2 minutes more, stirring until meat and vegetables are coated with sauce and sauce is slightly thickened. (There will not be a huge amount of sauce.) Serve hot.

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South Beach Diet and Low-Glycemic Suggestions:
South Beach dieters may be suspicious of this recipe which contains cornstarch and Hoisin sauce (which is high in sugar) but I greatly reduced the amount of Hoisin and divided among four servings, you're not eating a large amount of either of these ingredients. You can replace the cornstarch with arrowroot starch if you want, but I prefer cornstarch for a recipe like this. For phase two, I'd eat this as a main course, with something like Asian Cabbage Salad on the side. For phase three, you could serve it over Uncle Ben's Converted Rice.

More Stir-Fry Recipes with Ginger:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly, check ingredients.)
Stir-Fried Shrimp with Snow Peas and Ginger
Broccoli Stir Fry with Ginger and Sesame from Simply Recipes
Stir Fry Ginger Chicken with Snow Peas and Mushrooms from Once Upon a Feast
Ginger and Pepper Romaine Stir-Fry from Eating Out Loud
Stir Fry Pork with Ginger from Teczcape - An Escape to Food
Quick Sesame Ginger Stir Fry from Good Things Catered
Lemon-Ginger Chicken with Broccoli from Tigers and Strawberries
Stir Fried Beef with Ginger and Spring Onions from Hochiak! Delicious Asian Food
Chicken and Red Pepper Stir Fry from Chocolate Shavings
Stir-Fried Ginger and Beef with Vegetables from Champaign Taste

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  1. Ok, well you got me there! This is my dinner for tomorrow night, change of plans :)
    Love everything about it!

  2. So simple yet so appealing. I'll be eating this at the weekend with some purple broccoli. Thanks!

  3. A well-seasoned wok is a valuable assey in the kitchen, eh?

    The stirfry is colouful, healthy and quick...serve with some rice or noodles and dinner's ready in 30 minutes.

  4. Beautiful wok, Kalyn. I have several that I use occasionally (cast iron among them, which is beautiful but too heavy to lift and flip!), but my favorites are now a hand-hammered steel wok from China, and a one-handled 11-inch nonstick Vollrath restaurant pan, which I use for almost all of my stir fries. The Vollrath pan is available in restaurant supply stores or online, and it's one of those all-purpose pans you can use for just about any type of cooking.

  5. Kalyn-

    This is an awesome recipe! I love stir fry but I have never seasoned my oil! I can't wait to try it. I am just starting to get heavy into cooking and your blog has been great!

  6. Thanks for the link Kalyn! It's a big surprise to be featured here :D

    Funnily, I don't like ginger to go with broccoli because I think it "overpowers" the subtle taste (and sweetness) of broccoli. I do use it when I stir fry it with kale leaves or meat.

  7. I don't eat pork but this looks pretty darn good!

  8. Hillary, you could definitely make it with chicken or beef, or even tempeh.

  9. Your new wok is beautiful! And you so right about 'seasoning' the oil in the wok, it's an important step. I sometimes throw in a chopped green onion and a few slices of jalapeno as well :-)

  10. Allen, I love the idea of using green onion and jalapenos to season the oil, thanks for sharing!

  11. just sent you my entry for WHB Kalyn, and though I'm a vegetarian, I love your sauce here and will surely be using it soon!

  12. This looks so GOOD! Thanks again so much for your help with sponsoring us for the March for Babies. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate it! I love the little calendar too, it is so nice and is on my fridge!

  13. Oh yum, I am always in the mood for Asian, especially on weekends. This does look good. I need a new wok, though.

  14. I don't wok a lot. But if I could turn out a dish like this? Hmmm!

  15. I have been thinking about getting a wok for a while now... That broccoli stir fry looks really tasty!

  16. Broccoli and hoisin are my two favorite things to put in a stir-fry :) This looks so good!

    My wok is my favorite kitchen item; I use it all the time. Such a good investment.

  17. I learn something about seasoning the oil. Great post and recipe.

  18. This looks delicious, and so quick! I like your advice on seasoning the oil.

  19. Isn't hoison sauce just amazing? It even makes tofu taste succulent (if tofu can be called "succulent"). :) This is a delicious recipe, Kalyn.

  20. I haven't had a wok for years...I keep thinking about it but it never seems to happen.
    That doesn't stop me, though. My trusty frying pan does the job nicely.
    How fun to have taken a course....

  21. My wok is one of those things that sits in the back of my cupboard and I hardly ever take it out!!

    I do love a good Asian dish. We had a stir fry last night, but I enjoy that hoisin sauce so much that I'm going to have to try this one too!

  22. Great stir fry tips. A stir fry is one of those things that is a perfect comfort when right, and just forgetable when wrong. I like the sound of your pork marinade...

  23. Oh WOW... I just had to post a comment on this. I made it for dinner and my family loved it.All of them....That is a miracle in itself. I could not find a gluten free Hoisin sauce so I subbed black bean paste. It was fab!!!!!
    You are famous at my house family will ask on a new dish if it is from your blog......
    who just posted for the first time:)

  24. Kristen, so cool. I love being famous at someone's house. What a great idea to use black bean sauce, and actually that would be even better for South Beach Dieters too, probably less sugar. So happy to hear you liked it.

  25. Hello. I just found this blog and recipe this morning. I made this for our afternoon lunch, and it was wonderful!! Thank you!!

  26. all of your stir-fry dishes are in our 'regular' rotation but this one is the cream of the crop. Even when I wasn't on SB, the DIY chinese never tasted as good as yours. Thank you so much!

  27. This was delicious! I can't believe how tender the pork was! My mil came by right after dinner and tried some of the left overs out of the pan and instantly wanted the recipe!

  28. Michelle, that's great! So glad you guys liked it.

  29. I learned so much with you post; thank you. Making this for supper; love oil the idea of seasoning the oil.

  30. Rita, so glad it was helpful. Hope you enjoy!


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