I moved into my own apartment — my first apartment! — during my junior year of college and suddenly had access to a full kitchen....Read More
Chinese Pork Fried F’rice
You know what used to be fun? Picking up the phone and having a pile of Chinese food delivered. There were times that Dave and I ordered so much food, the restaurant would include six sets of chopsticks and six fortune cookies. Yeah, that’s right: they thought we were throwing some kind of dinner party, rather than feeding just the two of us while we watched a movie in a heap on the couch.
I loved everything about the experience. Negotiating our picks from the menu. Saying “pu pu platter” out loud. Watching the clock for the food to arrive. The inevitable grease marks on the delivery bag. The plastic packets of pale orange duck sauce. Unpacking those distinctive white cardboard boxes. And inside! Crispy, battered, fried things. Saucy sweet and sour things. Fried rice that glistened with peanut and sesame oil.
But you know what I don’t love? You know what’s really not fun? The takeout Chinese food hangover from the soy, the sugar, the rice, the flour, the MSG, and the regret. So my days of ordering Chinese takeout are behind me, and instead, I made us a reasonable substitute.
Purists, pay attention! My Chinese Pork Fried F’rice recipe is not authentic, nor is it shiny and glutinous like the restaurant version. But it does have chewy/crispy bites of pork, vibrant fresh vegetables, a nice salty bite from the coconut aminos, and the fresh snap of scallions. And that’s pretty fun, right?
Serves two – increase the amount of pork if any of the eaters are big and/or especially hungry. NOTE: I worked a lot on different veggies and the right proportions. We liked broccoli the best with the cauliflower, and if you add too many supporting vegetables, it throws off the f’rice-to-veggie ratio.
1 head fresh cauliflower, stems removed, pulsed to rice texture in the food processor
1 teaspoon + 1 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 white or yellow onion, diced
1 cup steamed broccoli florets, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2-3 scallions, green only
salt & pepper, to taste
sesame oil, to taste (optional)
2 teaspoons sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
Put the grated cauliflower in a microwave-safe container and nuke for two minutes. This step preps the cauliflower so it’s almost-tender before the stir-frying process. If you skip this step, you run the risk of the cauliflower turning to mush. You don’t want Chinese Pork Fried Mush. (At least I don’t think you do.)
If you’re using the sesame seeds, heat a large sauté pan or wok over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, toss in the sesame seeds and stir constantly ’til they’re lightly toasted, about 3-5 minutes. Keep an eye on them! They can quickly change from pale white to dark brown in a blink! When you’re happy with the toastiness, remove from the pan and save for step 6.
In a small bowl, scramble the eggs with 1 teaspoon coconut aminos. Heat 1 teaspoon coconut oil over medium-high heat in the pan, then add the eggs and scramble until cooked through. Remove them from the pan and save for step 5.
In the same pan, heat 1 teaspoon coconut oil over medium heat, then sauté the diced onion until it’s tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Things are going to start happening a little faster now. Alert your dining companions that you’re about to “drop the f’rice.” (That’s what I bellow from the kitchen at my house to alert Dave and Smudge that dinner is imminent!)
Add 1 tablespoon coconut oil to the pan and increase heat to high for about 90 seconds. When the pan is good and hot, add the cubed pork, chopped broccoli, cauliflower, and scrambled egg. Stir with purpose! Then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons coconut aminos. Continue to stir with purpose until it’s heated through, and you’re getting some lovely brown bits. This takes about 3 minutes or so.
Divide the fried f’rice onto two plates, then sprinkle with the chopped scallions and, if you’re into this kind of thing, about 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and 1 teaspoon of the toasted sesame seeds. Dig in with the sure knowledge that you are consuming at least two servings of vegetables, plenty of protein, and zero mystery ingredients. Takeout, shmakeout!