Broccoli Rabe with a Hint of Pork


Like many Shan dishes, this combines vegetables and meat: the bitter flavor of broccoli rabe and the slight sweetness of pork complement each other well. The recipe calls for fermented soybeans (you can substitute miso paste); because the soybeans or miso vary in saltiness, hold back on salt until the dish has come together.

This is a quick dish for a weeknight supper, light on meat and yet satisfying. Serve as one of several dishes with rice or as a light lunch; it’s also a good complement to Silky Shan Soup or a minestrone.


  • 1 pound broccoli rabe
  • ¼ pound pork shoulder or boneless pork tenderloin, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced lemongrass
  • 3 or 4 dried red chiles
  • A generous tablespoon of Fermented Soybean Paste or store-bought, or substitute teaspoons brown miso paste
  • 1 to 1½ cups water
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste


Chop the tough ends off the broccoli rabe and discard. Cut the greens into 2-inch lengths. Wash thoroughly in cold water, drain, and set aside.

Cut the pork slices crosswise into approximately 1-inch lengths; set aside.

Place a wok or wide heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the oil, and when it is hot, toss in the sliced garlic. Cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds, then add the lemongrass and chiles and stir. Raise the heat to high, toss in the pork, and stir and turn to break up any clumps and ensure that all surfaces get exposed to the hot oil. Once the meat has changed color, a minute or two, add the chopped greens, and stir and turn to mix well.

Mix the soybean or miso paste into 1 cup water and add, together with the salt. Bring to a vigorous boil, cover, lower the heat slightly to maintain the boil, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the broccoli rabe is just tender. Add another ½ cup or more water if you want more liquid. Taste for salt and adjust if necessary. Serve hot or at room temperature, with rice or noodles.

Vegetarian Shan Greens

Substitute ½ pound portobellos or button mushrooms, sliced, for the pork. Add once the chiles have gone in, and stir-fry until they soften and begin to give up their juices, about 5 minutes, before adding the greens.