Stir Fried Pork, Mushrooms and Savoy Cabbage; Dining out in China

Happy Chinese New Year!

The new year celebration started on the 19th of February and runs for 15 days…..

I wasn’t paying attention and missed the date, still, I have ample time to do something interesting.

In the meantime, here is my more typical stir-fry – using up the last bits in the fridge.

Savoy or green cabbage (rather than the ‘white’ that is used for coleslaw)  makes a great addition to a stir-fry.

Stir Fried Pork, Mushrooms and Savoy Cabbage

Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 10oz (300gr) lean pork, cubed
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs minced fresh ginger
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 4oz (120gr) mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups sliced Savoy (green) cabbage
  • 1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup ((2oz, 60ml) dry sherry
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame or walnut oil
  • 1 tbs cornstarch (or thickener of choice) dissolved in 2 tbs water
  • 1 tbs mushroom soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup (3.3oz, 95gr) quick-cooking brown rice
  • 1 cup (8oz, 240ml) chicken stock

Stir-Fried Pork, Mushrooms and Savoy Cabbage

Instructions:

  • In large non-stick skillet heat oils over medium-high heat.
  • Add onion, celery, carrot and stir-fry 5 minutes.
  • Add mushrooms, cabbage, garlic, ginger and stir-fry 5 minutes more.
  • Remove vegetables to a plate and cover to keep warm.
  • Add pork to skillet and stir-fry until browned.
  • Return vegetables, add stock, sherry and soy sauce.
  • Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer 5 minutes.
  • Give the cornstarch mixture a stir to recombine. Turn the heat up under the skillet and add the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly until thickened.  Serve over rice.
  • Rice
  • Cook rice in stock until done
  • Fluff and serve.

Print Recipe

In honor of Chinese New Year I thought I would post a bit about eating in China.

A friend of mine from Andorra, now living in Canada, has done a bit of travelling. He’s also lived in rather a lot of interesting places.

The following is an account of dining around China – from a more adventurous soul than I.

In case you’re curious – ‘big-nose’ is the politically incorrect term used by some Chinese to refer to westerners……

After some weeks in China, although we might not want to order the more exotic dishes, we were no longer put off by restaurant menus featuring deep-fried silkworm cocoons, drunken shrimp or scorpions. Guolizhuang, though, was  surreal enough to make even the most dedicated foodie hesitate before setting foot inside the door. Its selection consisted exclusively of the reproductive parts of male animals. A weekly magazine had reviewed its debut with the mischievous headline: “New Restaurant – Members Only.”  Our nerve failed us at the last moment.

Much of the food we had eaten in Beijing and Tianjin could have been found in the menus of upscale Chinese restaurants elsewhere in the world. In Nanjing, we were looking for something typical of the region. Our guide recommended the Wangqing. The restaurant was in an area known as Fuzi Miao,  near the Confucian Temple in the city centre and it was packed with diners. A place-card  informed us that Wangqing  provided “a posh environment with cordial welcome,” and was accustomed to hosting VIPs with its Eight Features Snacks. A former Vice-President of China had dined there.
None of the staff spoke English, there was no menu and we were the only “big-noses” in the place.
Given the choice of a $12, $15 or $18 dinner, we ordered the most expensive. A few minutes later, our waitress delivered eight dishes of nibble-sized food. Although the sauces puzzled us, the objects on the plates were identifiable: slices of meat, vegetables, nuts, pieces of fish.

Things took a turn for the worse with the arrival of the second batch of eight; the items were less recognizable, the textures unusual. We suspected the origin of some, but were reluctant to put a name to them; they coated the mouth and tongue with furry residues.

We began to toy with the food, pushing it around the plates with our chopsticks and ordering more  beer to wash down treats like the leathery, luke-warm turtle, delivered whole, wrapped in aluminum foil. By now, conversation at the next table had come to a halt while its members observed our reaction with undisguised amusement.

The third and final installment of eight dishes consisted of substances whose analysis would have challenged a forensic laboratory. We signaled for the check and retreated.

I have always wanted to visit China….. maybe some day I will.!cid_8F1CBC42A15945EA8E7E18E4AF82ACF1@PETER

If and when I do I’ll be a vegetarian.

If you are interested in reading more about Peter’s adventures in foreign lands have a look at his book: ‘Here, There and Everywhere’

He’s promised me copious amounts of wine in exchange for posting his picture.

Anything for a fellow former Andorran….. (and wine.)

4 thoughts on “Stir Fried Pork, Mushrooms and Savoy Cabbage; Dining out in China”

  1. I have traveled in China. I have eaten there. But to be honest, I have largely eaten in restaurants guides took whatever group I was with. Thus, I’ve had few surprises, some mediocre meals (think: same quality one might get at an expressway rest stop), some memorable meals (dim sum in Nanning was wonderful). The biggest surprise was at a formal banquet at the Great Hall of the People during an international conference. The soup they told us, was a delicacy, and since I figured they wouldn’t be poisoning us, I gamely tried it. Until I closed my mouth around something furry and gagged. So, I started picking a little more carefully at what was being presented. I remember the rest of the meal as good, and plentiful, but not appreciably better than what is regularly available in higher end Chinese restaurants here.

  2. Sorry, I’m just not that adventurous. Ugh…My aunt and uncle however, traveled through China in the mid-sixties, long before it was really ‘allowed’ and even longer before it became anything a true tourist would want to visit. My aunt fell in love with it, the food, the people…thank goodness when she attempted her Chinese dishes here, I had the option of having a sandwich.

  3. Karen, as much as I love food I am a pretty squeamish eater when it comes to unusual foods. Two shots of scotch before I ate the haggis LOL

    nightmusic, they probably didn’t have access to the really interesting stuff – luckily for you….

    Kate, and I’m sure my friend would love to have you read it 😉 I read it on my last trip – a lot of places I’d love to see someday.

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