Things are really moving with my next cookbook, Paleo Takeout: Restaurant Favorites without the Junk. For starters, the book finished printing last week, and my publisher overnighted a copy to me so I could be one of the first to check it out. I’m very happy with the finished product, and I think you’ll love it too! I’m in the middle of scheduling a summer book tour, and I’ll be sure to share the dates as soon as I have everything arranged – if you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for my brand new newsletter, where I’ll be sharing news and recipes in one convenient little email package.
For this week’s recipe, I wanted to highlight some of the techniques and ingredients that you’ll find in the book, to set the stage for when it releases on June 23rd. This Twice-Cooked Pork dish uses a technique common to Chinese-American takeout restaurants called velveting, where lean meat is thinly sliced, marinated in a starch mixture, then blanched and drained before being added to a stir-fry. Have you ever had some Beef & Broccoli with steak pieces that are super soft and tender? That’s velveting at work.
While this method isn’t absolutely required for any of the recipes for the book, it’s a fun technique that really adds a tasty dynamic to your Asian-inspired dishes. I also tend to start my velveted meat as the first part of the cooking process, so that I can chop my veggies and prepare my stir-fry sauce while the meat is tenderizing – the timing tends to flow naturally that way.
In terms of ingredients, I used this recipe in particular to highlight rice cooking wine (sometimes labeled as Chinese cooking wine or just rice wine) and Sichuan chili peppers (those are the whole dried peppers you’ll find in dishes like General Tso’s Chicken), since both are commonly used in Chinese-American dishes. Similarly, arrowroot starch is commonly used in Paleo Takeout to create a thickening slurry; both potato starch and tapioca starch can be used in a pinch, but I’ve found that arrowroot best mimics the thickening properties of cornstarch.
For a full list of uncommon pantry ingredients that are found in Paleo Takeout, be sure to check out my online shopping guide that lists the ingredients plus how often they appear in the book. Additionally, I’ve set up a similar guide for tools that I used in writing the book.
Check this guy out – pretty exciting, huh? If you haven’t already, definitely check out my full recipe list from the book!
Twice-Cooked Pork - Paleo, Primal, Gluten-free
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
8 dried Sichuan chili peppers (more or less to taste)
1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1/4 head napa cabbage, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups chopped)
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp tamari (or 3 tbsp coconut aminos)
1 tbsp honey or coconut palm sugar
1 tbsp rice cooking wine
1 tbsp arrowroot starch
2 tsp salt, more to taste
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp white pepper
3 tbsp coconut oil, divided
2 green onions, thinly sliced, to garnish
1. Combine the egg whites, starch, wine, and salt; stir until well-mixed. Toss with the pork pieces until well-coated, then cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes but up to 40 minutes, tossing again about halfway into the marinating period.
2. While the pork marinates, prepare the stir-fry. Cut the vegetables and set aside. Combine the stir-fry ingredients and set aside.
3. In a wok or saucepan, bring about 2 quarts of water to boil over high heat. Just as it starts to bubble, add 1 tbsp of the coconut oil, then add the pork pieces. Using tongs or chopsticks, move the pork around so they don’t stick together. Blanch until opaque, about 35-40 seconds, then fish out with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander, then set aside.
4. Heat the remaining 2 tbsp of oil in a wok over med/high heat until shimmering, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and peppers and stir-fry until slightly softened, about 30 seconds, then add the pork. Stir-fry until the pork starts to brown at the edges, about 1 minute, then add the bell pepper; stir-fry until starting to soften, about 30 seconds.
5. Add the cabbage and the stir-fry sauce (stir the sauce together again before adding it). Toss and stir-fry until the cabbage wilts a bit and the sauce thickens, about 30 seconds. Taste and add salt if needed, then garnish with sliced green onions and serve.
The pork as it marinates.
The pork after blanching for 35 seconds. It doesn’t look like much right now, but trust me, it’ll be awesome.
One cool aspect of velveting is that the sauce sticks to the meat really well, leaving you with some very flavorful bites!