Twice-Cooked Pork

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

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

The meat:
2 egg whites
3 tbsp arrowroot starch
2 tsp rice cooking wine
1/2 tsp salt
2 lbs pork loin or boneless chops, trimmed of fat and thinly sliced (diagonally for more surface area)

Stir-fry ingredients:
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)

Stir-fry sauce:
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!

36 thoughts on “Twice-Cooked Pork

  1. So happy for you, Russ! Well earned :D I’m super excited to receive your new book, as is my son. Being new to meat and it’s preparation, velveting looks like a great technique to add to my kitchen skills toolbox. Thank you.


  2. Made this last night – wife really enjoyed even though she’s not a fan of the smell of white pepper or fish sauce. Used half the amount of pork and a full head of napa cabbage and there was still enough sauce. Thanks for sharing and really look forward to receiving the full cookbook soon!


  3. My husband and I are counting down the days until the release – my husband has already picked out 15 recipes he wants me to cook! The Amazon lists are amazingly helpful, so thank you for taking the time to put those together.


    1. Erin, I’m happy to hear that you like the Amazon lists! They were definitely a bit of work getting those together, especially because Amazon only allows you to add 40 items to each list, so I had to triage and figure out which items to include!


  4. Well done on the new book. Keep up the great work!!
    I must say this recipe looks delicious. It’s a great recipe to cook up in the weekend for a weekend treat or if you have friends coming round. It’s easy to make and so much healthier than ordering from the local take out that is full of junk foods.

    In the ingredients list you have mentioned salt (for taste I’m guessing) is this ordinary table salt or can sea salt be used?
    Also, with the chilli peppers can these be taken out if your not a fan if spices?


    1. Hi Adam, either salt will work fine – since every salt has varying levels of saltiness, you’ll just want to add salt to taste in most cases anyway – it’s one of those ingredients that is hard to standardize. Definitely feel free to omit the peppers to reduce the heat.


      1. When I saw salt in the ingredients list I assumed it would be just for taste, but I thought I would double check if either can be used. I think this recipe does need some flavour because no chinese recipe is bland.
        Have you tried the same recipe with a different meat?


          1. Great thanks.
            I shall give it ago with chicken too. I sometimes find pork a bit chewy.
            I look forward to your next recipe being posted.


  5. I’m anxiously awaiting your book today from Amazon. I’m new to Paleo and doing Whole30 right now. I really want to make this tonight…..can I just leave out the honey or should I add apple sauce?


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