Friday, September 6, 2013

Stir Fried Pork with Cabbage Noodles from Meatified

After having a great experience with Meatified's Grain Free CousCous Salad with Baby Kale, I was excited to see this AIP compliant Stir Fried Pork with Cabbage Noodles.  Could this be a new weeknight dinner?  

I gathered my ingredients.  

Rachael, who authors Meatified, recommends getting your prep work done before cooking, so I complied.  I had some pre-shredded cabbage I needed to use, so that cut down on a little prep time for me.  I chopped and measured the herbs and onions and measured out the spices and flavoring liquids needed.  

She says to use a 14 inch wok that isn't nonstick.  The closest thing I have to that is my Le Creuset braiser.  Once all the prep was complete, I heated my braiser  over medium-high with coconut oil.  She recommends high heat, but I know that my Le Creuset will be crazy hot over medium-high since it retains heat so well.  I added the onions to the pan and let them soften.   

I added half the cabbage and half the spices, coconut aminos and fish sauce.  I cooked and stirred it until "crisp-tender" per recipe instructions.  

I then removed that batch of cabbage and onions from the pan to a mixing bowl and added the other half of the cabbage to the pan.  I thought it interesting that there was no cooking liquid/fat to add with this 1/2 of cabbage.  I let it wilt a bit and then removed it from the pan.  

Next, it was time to brown the pork.  I added more coconut oil to the pan and added the pork along with the remaining spices and Thai basil.  I could not find dried Thai basil so I used fresh using the conversion I found here.  

I added the majority of the vegetables back to the pan and added the green onions, mint and cilantro.  I mixed carefully as to not spill the ingredients and then added the rest of the cabbage and mixed carefully again.  

Finally, I added the lime juice.  

And here's my plate.  Looks tasty! 

And a different angle.

Accessibility & Cost of Ingredients:  I couldn't find any dried Thai basil.  I'll keep looking but it wasn't at any of my usual grocery stores I frequent.  I saved a little money on the herbs needed for the recipe by going to the Asian grocery store.  They sell huge bunches of Thai basil and mint for 75 cents each.  Of course if you're growing these in a garden, lucky you.  

I recommend Red Boat fish sauce.  Luckily, I no longer have to order it directly from them as my Asian grocery and local Whole Foods is now carrying that brand, so you may want to check your local stores. You'll need to go to a more health minded grocery store for coconut aminos.  Otherwise, the rest of the ingredients should be found at your "big box" grocery store.  

Preparation & Cooking Time:  As I sat down to prepare my review of this recipe, the printout that I scribbled on had disappeared.  I suspect it might have been thrown away in a kitchen cleaning frenzy. It didn't take me more than 40 minutes to prep and cook this recipe.  The stated total time in the recipe is 30 minutes.  

Clean Up:  Here is my Le Crueset pan at the end of this.  I'm not quite certain why she wanted a non-non stick pan.  I could understand if there was some deglazing to be done, but there isn't.   I didn't notice any extra "char" on the ingredients either.   It took quite a bit of elbow grease to get this clean even after a soaking.  It's possible my pan just got too hot, but I monitored it pretty closely.  

The Paleo Review:  Thumbs half way up.  This dish was OK for me.  There was something missing flavor-wise for me in this dish.  I tried adding more lime juice and then salt and pepper, but there was still something missing.  She does say to check seasoning to adjust to taste, I just couldn't pick out the seasoning that it needed more of.  It improved a little after a night in the refrigerator.

I'm going to ask Rachael, the Meatified one, if she has any suggestions for what I should adjust.  Don't worry, I've not started talking about myself in the third person. 

I decided to make it a second time using fresh ginger and a little less fresh Thai basil, and a little more coconut aminos and it wasn't an improvement.  I see now that I pulled up the recipe on her website again that she used mostly purple cabbage, (I never print out pictures) but I don't think that would change things flavor wise much.  

The second time around, I used my 12" ScanPan saute pan and it worked just fine and eliminated the need for extensive pot soaking/scrubbing.  

If you make this dish, I recommend in addition to prepping your ingredients before hand that you read the instructions carefully.  She calls for dividing some of the ingredients and this might catch you off guard if you just start cooking and throwing things into the pan.  I know I spent a few minutes just staring at the instructions trying to figure out the least messy way to divide the ingredients.  This is where my type A mind gets in the way of enjoying cooking.  The first time I made this, I measured out the spice ingredients half the spice ingredients directly into the pan as needed.   The second time, I just measured out the full amounts in one bowl before hand, mixed them up, and then just eyeballed half as I cooked.  I think this was the better way.  

I might think on other ways to tweak this recipe.   Do you have a favorite paleo stir fry? 

Blog Note and Favor Request:  When this post publishes (hopefully - since I scheduled it), I will be on my way to Staunton, Virginia for the Save Your Bacon Weekend at Polyface Farms.  I won tickets from Paleo Comfort Foods.  I entered because one of the prizes was a collection of cookbooks, but I won the event tickets.  I never imagined I'd be going to the event and I can hardly contain my excitement!  Thank you Julie and Charles!!!

I'll be sharing pictures as I can as I hear that cellphone reception isn't great out there.

A favor?  

May I ask a favor of you, dear reader?  Since I'm going to be traveling much of the morning, it won't be convenient for me to do all of the social media sharing I usually do once a post goes up.  Would you please share this post on a social media platform of your choice?  

Just one share somewhere will do (or more if you're feeling energetic and kind).  It's easy to do with the buttons at the bottom of the post.  I'd really appreciate it.  Just think of all the awesome farm, food and paleo personality pictures I'll be rewarding you with over the weekend and once I get back? I thank you in advance for reading and sharing.