By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal
I have long been a fan of cookbook author Mark Bittman. His “How To Cook Everything” has been on my kitchen bookshelf for a dozen years, but it’s his newest endeavor, “The Food Matters Cookbook,” that has piqued my interest.
Bittman has collected more than 500 recipes created to reduce the amount of meat and processed foods in the average American diet. He still eats meat: He just doesn’t build a meal around it. Rather, he incorporates small amounts of meat into dishes for flavor.
In the January issue of Cooking Light magazine, where Bittman writes a regular feature, he had a couple of Asian-inspired recipes. The one that caught my attention was his Almost Classic Pork Fried Rice.
We tried this at home one night last week and it was excellent. As my 14-year-old son, Patrick, reached for a third helping, I casually said, ”You do realize there are bean sprouts in that, right?”
He picked a bean sprout out of the dish, held it up to the light to study it, and then popped it into his mouth. “Yes ma’am,” he said. “But it’s still good.”
This dish was not easy or quick to prepare. All the ingredients must be prepped and ready to go in advance, because once you start cooking, the dish comes together very quickly.
Almost Classic Pork Fried Rice
2 tablespoons peanut oil or olive oil, divided
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1⁄2 pound boneless pork loin chop, cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
1⁄2 cup chopped carrot
1⁄2 cup chopped celery
1⁄2 cup chopped green onion bottoms (white part)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
3 cups cooked, chilled long-grain brown rice
1 large egg
3 tablespoons mirin
3 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
1⁄4 cup canned diced water chestnuts, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped green onion tops
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil to pan, swirling to coat. Sprinkle 1⁄8 teaspoon salt over pork. Add pork to pan, and sauté for 2 minutes or until browned on all sides. Remove pork from pan. Add carrot and celery to pan, and sauté for 2 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add carrot mixture to the pork.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil to pan, swirling to coat. Stir in green onion bottoms, garlic, and ginger; cook for 15 seconds, stirring constantly. Add rice, stirring well to coat rice with oil; cook, without stirring, for 2 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Stir rice mixture, and cook, without stirring, an additional 2 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Make a well in center of rice mixture. Add egg; stir-fry for 30 seconds or until soft-scrambled, stirring constantly.
Return the pork mixture to pan. Stir in mirin, and cook for 1 minute or until mirin is absorbed. Stir in the remaining 3⁄8 teaspoon salt, soy sauce, sesame oil, and pepper. Remove from heat, and stir in bean sprouts and water chestnuts. Sprinkle with green onion tops.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.