Stir-Fried Garlic Eggplant with Pork

June 28, 2011 § 5 Comments

One more recipe from Grace Young’s Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge. This time it’s eggplant and pork. The original recipe is okay but nothing spectacular. But add a bit of  this

And woo boy does this dish come alive!

Adapted from Grace Young’s Stir-frying to the Sky’s Edge
Paleo diet ingredient substitution in red.


  • 2 oz ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon +1/4 cup cooking oil (avocado oil)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic + 2 smashed garlic cloves
  • 3 (about 1 lb) medium Asian eggplants, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2″ thick slices
  • 1/4 cup Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 scallion, minced (reserve 2 teaspoons for marinade)
  • 1/4 cup Chicken broth (optional)


  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (Tamari)
  • 1 teaspoon Chicken broth (or cold water)
  • 2 teaspoon minced scallion
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger


  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce (Tamari)
  • 2 tablespoon Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce (1 tablespoon fish sauce)
  • 1/4 cup Chicken broth (or cold water)


In a small bowl, combine pork and marinade ingredients. Stir until pork has absorbed all of the broth (liquid). In another small bowl, combine ingredients for sauce.

Heat a wok or heavy-bottomed skillet on high heat. Swirl in 1 teaspoon cooking oil (avocado oil) and add pork mixture. Stir fry for 30 seconds or until the pork is opaque and still slightly rare. Remove from wok and set aside.

Swirl in remaining 1/4 cup of oil. Add 1 tablespoon chopped garlic and stir fry for 10 seconds. Add eggplant and stir fry for 2 minutes. The eggplant will absorb all the oil and the flesh will change color. Swirl in rice wine and immediately cover the wok, reduce heat to medium and cook for 30-60 seconds.  Uncover and sprinkle sugar over eggplant. Swirl in sauce mixture and stir fry for 1 minute. Return the pork to the wok, cover and cook for 2 minutes or until almost all the liquid has been absorbed. Use a knife to check if the eggplant is just tender. If not, cover and cook again for another 1 minute. Uncover and stir fry for 15 seconds. If the eggplant is sticking to the bottom of the wok, add a couple of tablespoons (up to 4 tablespoons=1/4 cup) of the optional chicken broth. Add the 2 smashed garlic cloves, cover and remove the wok from the heat. Let sit for 1 minute or until the pork is cooked through. Sprinkle on remaining minced scallions and serve.

Stir-Fried Pork with Chinese Broccoli

June 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

Here’s another stir-fry from Grace Young’s Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge. I like this one because it’s not just Chinese broccoli but a mix of veggies that I like. What’s nice is that any one of the veggies can be swapped out (or left out) to what you have on hand or like or don’t like. I realized that none of the mushrooms are in the picture but there were straw mushrooms in there. If you don’t have straw mushrooms, small white mushrooms will taste just as good, IMO. Chicken or beef would work just fine too.

The one thing I am having a hard time finding is a Paleo/Primal substitute for the oyster sauces typically found in stores. Most of the oyster sauces contain modified cornstarch and caramel for color. Some cheaper brands also have wheat and MSG, which I typically try to avoid anyways. Might need to do an Asian markets run to see what types/brands are out there.

Just a note on the cookbook. I’m kind of on the fence about the way the book lists ingredients. Young lists ingredients like most cookbooks, one big list with the total amount for each ingredient, except she doesn’t make note when one particular ingredient is divided. So you basically have to read through the entire recipe while prepping in order to know how much of something is for a marinade or for a sauce. I find the way Wei-Chuan’s cookbooks method of listing ingredients a much more friendlier way to prep ingredients for stir-fry. But then those are the cookbooks I’ve used for most of my stir-fries. The drawback of this type of listing is that you don’t get a total amount of a particular ingredient. So I don’t know which way is better. So for this recipe, I’m using the format found in Wei-Chuan’s cookbooks. You can compare this to the Young’s Kung Pao Chicken recipe to see which one you like better.

Adapted from Grace Young’s Stir-frying to the Sky’s Edge
Paleo diet ingredient substitution in red.


  • 12 oz lean pork shoulder or butt, cut into 1/4-inch thick bite-size slices
  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil (avocado oil)
  • 2 teaspoon finely shredded ginger
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon chicken broth
  • 6 medium stalks Chinese broccoli
  • 4 medium fresh water chestnuts, peeled and sliced (or you can use the canned stuff)
  • 1/2 cup canned straw mushrooms, drained
  • 1/2 cup 1-inch red bell pepper squares
  • handful of snow peas, strings removed (more or less to taste)


  • 2 teaspoon soy sauce (Tamari)
  • 1 teaspoon Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cooking oil (avocado oil)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  •  1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Sauce #1:

  • 3 tablespoons chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon soy sauce (Tamari)
  • 1 teaspoon oyster sauce

Sauce #2:

  • 1 tablespoon chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch (omit for Paleo)


In a medium bowl, combine pork and marinade, mix well. In a small bowl, combine ingredients of Sauce #1. In another small bowl, combine ingredients of Sauce #2.

In a medium pot, bring water to boil over high heat. Add broccoli and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the broccoli is crisp-tender. The thicker the stalks, the longer it’ll take to get to crisp-tender. Drain well and place on serving platter.

In a wok (or a large skillet) on high heat, swirl in 2 tablespoon cooking oil. Add ginger and 2 teaspoon garlic, stir fry for 10-20 seconds until aromatic. Push the aromatics to the side of the wok, add the pork with marinade and spread into one layer in the wok. Let cook undisturbed for 1 minute to let the pork sear a bit. Then stir fry for 1 minute until the pork is lightly browned but not cooked all the way through.

Add water chestnuts, mushrooms, bell peppers and snow peas, stir fry for 1 minute. The snow peas will turn bright green.

Swirl in Sauce #1, stir fry for 30 seconds to combine everything.

If using cornstarch in Sauce #2, re-stir the mixture, then swirl into the wok. Stir fry for 15-30 seconds, just until the pork is cooked through. Pour over the broccoli.

Stir-Fried Cucumber and Pork

June 10, 2011 § 2 Comments

This dish might sound a little odd but it’s a very nice combination between the texture of the pork and the freshness of the cucumber. The original recipe calls for frying garlic but I’m a bit lazy and prefer to use a more simpler method.

Adapted from Grace Young’s Stir-frying to the Sky’s Edge
Paleo diet ingredient substitution in red.


  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (extra virgin avocado oil)
  • 3 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 12 oz lean pork shoulder, cut into bite sized 1/4-inch pieces
  • 3 teaspoon soy sauce (Tamari), divided
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon freshly minced ginger
  • 1 large English cucumber, ends trimmed


Slice cucumber in half lengthwise, cut on the diagonal into 1/4-inch thick slices. Should yield about 3 cups.

In a bowl, combine pork, 1 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce (Tamari), sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. In another small bowl, combine 1 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce and 1 cold water.

Heat wok over high heat. Swirl in oil, add garlic and stir fry for 30 seconds until arromatic. Add ginger and stir fy for another 30 seconds. The garlic will start to get golden. Push garlic and ginger to the side, add pork and spread evenly in one layer. Cook undisturbed for 1 minute until the pork begins to sear. Then stir-fry for 1 minute, pork will start to brown. Add cucumber and stir-fry for 30 seconds, combining everything together. Sprinkle on remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, swirl in the soy sauce and water mixture, stir-fry for 1 more minute. Cucumber should just start to cook and wilt a bit. Serve hot.

Kung Pao Chicken 2

June 7, 2011 § 2 Comments

I’ve been doing a lot of stir-fries. It’s all due to a new cookbook I got, Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge. I like this cookbook because Grace Young not only gives a very good intro on the ins and outs of stir frying, she also offers a lot of traditional dishes adapted by Chinese people living in areas where traditional ingredients isn’t readily available. I love this because I tend to cook with whatever is on hand and what I think would make good substitutes. My grandmother was pretty traditional in her cooking, never swaying from the tried and true recipes. But mom was not as much, me even less. She would use traditional ingredients but she turned her nose up in regards to some the old rules that hardcore cooks followed. For instance, never add green onions if there are regular onions in a dish.

What’s been great about all the stir fries lately is that I make enough so there’s leftovers for at least one more meal. I was telling the Mister I just don’t know how Mom and Nai Nai (grandmother) cooked just about ever night. Not just one dish, often 3-4 dishes for dinner. I have a confession, I can’t do that. As quickly as stir fry cooks, the prep does take time. Everything chopped and sauces ready to stir in. I’ve made some 3-dish meals lately and I just can’t but feel exhausted thinking about doing that every night. But I still enjoy the whole process, just not every night.

The first dish I made was the Kung Pao Chicken. The Mister and his mom love to order KPC but I’ve never been a fan of the ABCDE versions. This one, however, I like.

For those looking for a more Paleo version, I’ve added the substitutions to the right of the ingredient in red italics and within parentheses.

Adapted from Grace Young’s Stir-frying to the Sky’s Edge

Paleo diet ingredient substitution in red.


  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoon soy sauce (Tamari)
  • 2 teaspoon sugar (black strap molasses or maple sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon Shao Hsing rice wine (or dry sherry)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablspoon chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil (extra virgin avocado oil)
  • 4-8 dried red chile peppers, cut in half
  • 1/2 teaspoon roasted, ground Sichuan peppercorn
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/inch squares
  • 1/2 cup scallions, minced
  • 1/4 cup unsalted roasted peanuts (pecans or walnuts, optional)


In a medium bowl, combine chicken, ginger, garlic, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of rice wine, 1 teaspoon sugar (black strap molasses or maple sugar), 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine.

In a separate small bowl, mix together broth, vinegar, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, sesame oil, and remaining rice wine, set aside.

In a large wok on high heat, swirl in 1 tablespoon of oil. Add chiles and ground Sichuan peppercorns, stir fry for 15 seconds until the chiles start to smoke a little and darken. Push the chili mixture to one side of the wok, add the chicken and spread it evenly on the bottom of the wok. Cook undisturbed for 1 minute. Then stir fry the chicken and the chiles together for another minute until the chicken is lightly browned. The chicken won’t be cooked all the way through yet.

Swirl in remaining tablespoon of oil. Add bell peppers and stir fry for 1 minute or so until the peppers start to soften. Add the nuts (if using) and scallions and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir fry for 30-60 seconds until the chicken is cooked through and the scallions are bright green. Serve hot. How about serving over some cauliflower fried rice for an all paleo experience?.

Pork Chops with Onion and Apples

June 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

This recipe is a take on Rachel Ray’s Potted Pork Tenderloin, which I posted on a while back (read it here). Since I’m a meat on bone kind of person, I like pork chops bone-in more than tenderloin. I just think the meat has more flavor with bone on. I’ve simplified the recipe but the flavor is still there and it’s still a one-pan dish. Next to the Mister’s fried pork chops, this is my second favorite way of eating pork chops.

For seasoning, I used salt and black pepper but I also sprinkled on a bit of Essence, which I keep on hand in a little shaker bottle. If you don’t want to make a whole batch of Essence, just sprinkle a small pinch each of paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, dried oregano and dried thyme one both sides of the chops.  As far as the type of apples, use what ever kind you have on hand. Golden and Red Delicious have a tendency to cook faster and become mushy than most other apples. I’ve used the following apples with good results: Pink Ladies, Macintosh, Gala, Granny Smith and Braeburn. Like I said, whatever I have in the fridge (or cheapest that the store).

I make about 2 chops per person although I usually only eat one if the chops are thick. I recommend using chops that are about 1 inch in thickness but thinner chops can also be used. If using thinner chops, I recommend browning the chops on both side and then removing immediately, Then cook the apples and onions for the full 5 minutes before adding the chops back in and cooking for another 2 minutes, covered.

Since I’m modifying many of the recipes to fit the Paleo diet as much as I can, I’ve been thinking about the best way to provide a standard and a Paleo recipe. So what I’ve come up with is posting the standard recipe and include Paleo substitutions within parentheses in red text next to the applicable ingredient. That way y’all can see both ingredients. 

Serves 2-3 people

Paleo diet ingredient substitution in red.


  • 4 1-inch pork chops with bone-in (can also used boneless)
  • 1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 apple, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (ghee)
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour (almond meal)
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 fresh Sage leaves, finely chopped (or 1/4 teaspoon dried Sage)
  • Essence, for seasoning pork chops
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Take pork chops out of the refrigerator about 15 minutes before cooking. Sprinkle Essence on both sides of the pork chops and set aside. 

In a large cast iron pan or heavy bottom pan, heat oil (ghee) on medium heat. Add pork chops and brown both sides, about 5 minutes on each side. They should be nicely browned. Remove to plate and set aside.

Add remaining tablespoon of oil (ghee) to pan. Still using medium heat, add onions and cook for 3 minutes. Add apples and cook for another 2 minutes. Add flour (almond meal) and broth, stir and cook for about a minute. Taste here for seasoning. Adjust with salt and black pepper as needed. Continue cooking until the liquid begins to bubble around the edge of the pan and starts coming to a boil, add the pork chops back in. Sprinkle sage over chops. Cover and reduce heat, continue cooking until the pork chops reach 155 degrees F near the bone. I don’t have a lid for my cast iron pan so I use the dome lid from my wok, which fits just about right. If you don’t have a lid that will fit over your pan, remove the pan from the heat, carefully cover the top with some aluminum foil and then put the pan back on the heat to continue cooking. It doesn’t have to be air tight. Just cover to help cook through the chops.

Serve hot with some of the onions and apples. Drizzle some of the pan juices over everything.

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