Ginger Pork Stir-Fry with Asian Greens
What should a healthy meal look like? Most people can easily tell you it better include plenty of fruits and vegetables.
But in 2017, the Centers for Disease Control reported that when the fork hits the plate, very few among us are actually doing it. In fact, just 1 in 10 American adults eats that recommended 2-3 cups of vegetables per day. One in ten.
Now I’ll give you another scale of ten. This one is a top 10 list, also published by the CDC in 2017.
If I asked you what the to 10 leading causes of death are in the United States today, I bet you’d have a pretty good idea of what they are. Heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers.
What if I told you that risk levels for 7 out of those 10 leading causes can be lowered just by eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables?
To figure out how we can do a better job in our country, we can look to world cultures that are already good at eating their vegetables.
Presenting the humble wok.
Whether it’s electric or made for the stovetop, a wok can cook and hold several bunches of leafy greens all at once. Sauté everything up together, and you have a huge batch of healthy food, which is also delicious as leftovers.
If you don’t have a wok on hand, you can still enjoy this recipe—you’ll just need to cook in several batches.
Pork & Vegetables
1 bunch pac choi (aka bok choy), washed and chopped
1 bunch broccoli, chopped
1 bunch tatsoi or Swiss chard
1 bunch scallions, chopped in long slices
2 boneless pasture-raised pork chops (partially frozen)
3 cloves of garlic, smashed and sliced
1/3 cup neutral oil, such as sunflower, divided
1/8 cup rice wine vinegar
3 or 4 good dashes toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup tamari, soy sauce, or an equivalent
1/8 cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1 teaspoon sugar
a scattering of hot pepper flakes, to taste
about 1 inch of fresh ginger, grated finely (partially frozen)
Tips: The boneless pork chops slice best and thinnest if they are slightly frozen. Cut thin strips against the grain of the pork. Likewise, whole ginger is easiest to grate when it is frozen or mostly frozen.
Rinse and shake the vegetables dry. Once you start sautéing, you'll need to move quickly, so it's best to prep every single ingredient before you turn on the burner. It's a very good idea to make the sauce ahead, too.
Chop everything in a style that appeals to you, but be sure to make it large enough to easily grab with a pair of chopsticks. (Diced scallions are a nightmare to pick up with chopsticks.)
In a wok or skillet that is already so hot it's little smoky, add a tablespoon or two of the sunflower oil, then the garlic. You want to use a pretty hot burner--call it a hot medium hot.
After a few seconds, start adding vegetables. Start with the broccoli since it takes longest to cook, then add the thick, white parts of the pak choi, followed by the tatsoi or chard stems, then the scallions. Leafy greens will go in last.
When the vegetables are cooked almost to your liking, set them aside in a large serving bowl. They will continue to cook a little while you prepare the meat and sauce.
When the wok is empty of vegetables, add the thinly sliced pork and sauté it for a couple minutes, til it appears to be cooked through. Then add the sauce and simmer everything a moment longer. Then add the vegetables to just incorporate the sauce.
Serve with any kind of rice or noodles you like, or on its own.
You can also read this recipe in our Eat Like a Farmer column in the Petoskey News-Review.