I received a head of bok choy in my CSA Vegetable Box this week, and it’s also Chinese New Year. So, I decided to try my hand at making a stir fry dinner. I’ve never made stir fry before, so I looked online at a lot of recipes. There are tons of variations, but what they seem to have in common is a sauce that features soy sauce, sherry or some kind of vinegar, and a sweetener (among other ingredients). Another bit of advice is to have everything prepped and ready to go before you get started.
I’ve never been one to follow recipes very closely – which is why I prefer cooking over baking – so I figured this was enough to go on.
I opted for pork tenderloin for the protein in my meal. To save time marinating the meat, I bought a peppercorn-garlic pork tenderloin; I thought both the pepper and garlic would go nicely with my other ingredients.
For the sauce, I whisked together in a small bowl:
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
- 3 Tbsp. honey
- Pinch red pepper flakes (optional – this was enough for a little heat, but not enough to make it really spicy).
The other ingredients are:
- 1 pound pork tenderloin (I used peppercorn garlic marinated pork tenderloin), sliced into thin (1/4-inch maximum) strips – it’s easy to cut thin strips if you place the tenderloin into the freezer for about 15 minutes before slicing.
- 8-oz mushrooms, cut into 1/4-inch slices (I used baby bella mushrooms, but white button mushrooms would be fine, too).
- 1 head bok choy – to prepare, cut off the bottom inch or so of the head to separate the leaves. Clean and dry the leaves. Cut the white stems away from the leaves and slice stems into 1/4-inch wide pieces. Roughly chop the leaves.
- Combine 1 or 2 Tbsp. corn starch with enough water to have a smooth liquid (about 4 Tbsp. water).
- roasted cashews – I used about 2 handfuls, but you can use as much as you like (if at all).
Once all of the ingredients are prepared, heat a large nonstick skillet (or wok if you have one – I don’t) over medium-high heat, then add 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil. Add the pork, and cook (stirring constantly) until it is browned. You may have to do this in two batches to keep the pan from getting too crowded (which will cause the meat to steam instead of browning). Transfer the pork to a bowl.
Add mushrooms to the pan, and continue to cook over medium (or medium-high) heat until they start to get soft, then add them to bowl with the pork.
Add one more tablespoon vegetable oil to your pan, then add the sliced bok choy stalks to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, until the bok choy starts to soften and browns. Add the stir fry sauce and bok-choy leaves to the pan, and continue to cook for about 1 minute.
Thicken the sauce, adding the cornstarch mixture one tablespoon at a time, and cooking for a minute or two between additions until the sauce thickens – it should take at most 2-3 Tbsp. of the cornstarch mixture to achieve your desired consistency (unless you like the sauce really thick). Add the pork, mushrooms, and cashews back to the pan, and continue to cook until the pork is cooked through (another 2 or 3 minutes).
I served this over cooked rice noodles (rice sticks, cooked according to package directions), but you can serve it over rice if you prefer.
Judging by the amount of leftovers (the pan is almost empty), I’ll say that this turned out well. I’m looking forward to making it again.