No rules. Don’t be afraid to do whatever you want. Cooking doesn’t have to have rules. I don’t like it that way.
If you have ever lived in Japan you never forget the flavors and aromas that surround the culture. I have fond food memories of passing through towns, cities and little villages tasting a variety of real Japanese dishes then finally the availability of Asian ingredients became popular in the USA so now we can recreate some of those food memories at home. My biggest treat and effort of the year is to make ramen broth from scratch while watching that crazy Ramen Girl movie. The broth takes 16-18 hours, but the result, months of bowls of ramen throughout the year…
There are some fantastic Asian stores our area and I keep a running list of goods on my phone in case I go near one. If you have never taken advantage of the wide variety of goods in an Asian grocery store, you are in for a real treat as the prices are fantastic and very reasonable compared to the limited items that are available in your local grocery stores. So when I crave Asian it doesn’t mean that it has to be a labor intensive experience as there are many quick versions of dishes that will work their way into a quick week night dinner. My best local Asian grocer carries a hug variety of Korean, Japanese, Chinese , etc., ingredients so start with a short list of dishes you would like you make and shop for the ingredients, you will quickly learn that you might consider Asian pantry goods to have on hand to use any time you crave Asian.
Two favorites come together for another Asian-style dinner a never fail minimalist fragrant ginger fried rice with a fried egg rather than scrambled egg crepe style from Mark Bittman and a bok choy pork stir fry from Fine Cooking.
Again, I actually followed a recipe more or less for the 5 step rice dish, very simple and very easy and for the Pork and Bok Choy I went back to my archived Fine Cooking and made a little change here and there. I had regular bok choy and simply weighed out the leaves (cut off thicker stems and rough chop) for the recipe rough chop the leaves as well. Link below for the full recipe at Fine Cooking.
1 lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed (I had a 3-4 pound pork loin rib ended and used 1/2 for our dinner and saved ground the rest for lettuce wraps, Asian pork patties or sausage patties
2 Tbs. soy sauce
*optional a little garlic chili sauce
1 Tbs. mirin
1 tsp. packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
ground white pepper to taste
4 tsp. canola oil
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger (store unused portions of ginger in zip bags or container in the freezer)
1 lb. baby bok choy (3 to 4 heads), stalks cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices, leaves kept separate (or weigh regular trimmed bok choy)
3/4 cup salted cashews
2 tsp. Asian sesame oil
*Serve with Sriracha sauce for a little additional heat and garnish with chopped green onions.
Slice the tenderloin crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick medallions. Cut the medallions into 1/2-inch-thick strips.
In a medium bowl, whisk the soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, cornstarch, and 1/4 tsp. white pepper until the cornstarch and sugar are dissolved. Add the pork, toss to coat, and marinate for 5 to 10 minutes.
Heat 2 tsp. of the canola oil in a 14-inch wok or a 12-inch skillet over high heat until shimmering hot and swirl to coat the pan. Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add the pork in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, for 1 minute. Turn the heat down to medium high and stir-fry until the meat is nearly cooked through, 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Heat the rest of 2 tsp. canola oil in the wok over medium-high heat. Add the bok choy stalks and stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add the pork, bok choy leaves, and cashews, and stir-fry until the leaves are wilted, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat, toss with the sesame oil, and serve.