Savoury Pork with Pickled Vegetables

Every other Saturday at our family restaurant in Chicago, one of the chefs would go down to the basement to fetch a fresh batch of pickled mustard greens, which were stored in large ceramic crocks until ready to use. A favourite recipe and a very popular dish among our patrons called for pickled mustard greens simply stir-fried with slices of pork.

Although the taste of raw pickled greens is intensely strong, they mellow with cooking and retain a nice crunchiness. They add a piquant touch to robust meat dishes.

One secret is to add a pinch of sugar to balance the tart flavours of the greens – your taste buds and experience will dictate just how much a ‘pinch’ is. Pickled greens are now readily available at Chinese grocers.

Ingredients

  • 450 g (1 lb) lean boneless pork chops
  • tablespoons groundnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely sliced garlic
  • 100 g ( oz) sliced pickled mustard greens, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese Chicken Stock or store-bought fresh stock
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

For the Marinade

  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Method

Cut the pork into slices 2.5 cm (1 in) wide and 5 mm (¼ in) thick. In a large bowl, mix the sliced meat with the marinade ingredients, let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes and drain.

Heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat until it is hot. Swirl in tablespoons groundnut oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, toss in the meat and stir-fry for 1 minute. Immediately remove with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander set in a bowl. Wipe the wok clean and reheat over a high heat. Swirl in the remaining groundnut oil, toss in the garlic and stir-fry for 20 seconds. Toss in the pickled mustard greens and stir-fry for 1 minute. Pour in the chicken stock, rice wine, soy sauce and sugar and continue to stir-fry for 30 seconds. Return the meat to the wok and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Finally, swirl in the sesame oil and stir twice. Ladle the meat and greens onto a platter and serve at once.

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