Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Paleo Sesame Pork Chow Mein

As a child, teenager, and young adult if I you asked me what my favorite cuisine was, without hesitation I would blurt out "Chinese food!" And that was the absolute truth. I could put away some house lo mein, beef with broccoli, sweet and sour chicken, fried rice, general chicken, and egg drop soup. Where I grew up there was a little Chinese restaurant that we frequented so often, the people knew our order before we could tell them. Good for us for supporting a local business, but yikes! I would venture to say my caloric intake for those meals was astronomical. And the bad oils and processed carbs. Holy heart attack! Not to mention, I would almost always have a stomach ache afterwards because I would eat until I literally couldn't anymore. Thankfully, as I started taking care of my body and making a conscious effort to be aware of what I was eating, the idea of Chinese food seemed less and less appealing. However, every now and again, I'll still get a craving for the taste of soy sauce and vegetables. I'm so happy to have found a wonderful substitute in coconut aminos, which gives me the flavor of my cravings without all the bad feelings that come afterwards. Also, just a very small amount of toasted sesame oil can really pack a flavor punch that will make your taste buds feel like you've been whisked away to the Far East. 

For this recipe, I wanted to create a dish that included lots of crunchy vegetables mixed with a nice healthy protein. I also want to note that I used a spiralizer to make ribbon noodles, rather than the typical lo mein style noodles. I did this for two reasons. First, I think the ribbon noodles hold in the liquid from the sauce better, and two, I think they're prettier! If you don't have a spiralizer, you can always use a julienne slicer, but you'll probably want to do this in advance to try and let some of the water release. You can do this by placing the noodles in a paper towel, sprinkle with a bit of sea salt to draw out the moisture, and then let it set for about 20 minutes. Then put the noodles in a dry towel and wring out the water. Either way works, one just requires a few extra steps. Or you could leave the "noodles" out entirely and the dish would still be delicious!

Paleo Sesame Pork Chow Mein

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4

Special Tools:
Spiralizer (or julienne slicer)
Cutting board
Chopping knife
Wok or large saute pan with high sides

1 pound of lean pork cutlets sliced into 1/2 inch slices
1/2 head of green cabbage, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
1 head of broccoli, stems removed and cut into small florets
1 large carrot, thinly sliced (or shredded)
1/4 of a large sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 zucchini squashes, spiralized into ribbons with blade A. 
1 tbsp of ghee
1 tbsp of coconut aminos
1 tbsp of rice vinegar
1 tsp of sesame seeds

For the sauce:
3 tbsp of coconut aminos
2 tbsp of rice vinegar
1 and 1/2 tbsp of freshly grated ginger (or 1 tbsp of dried ground ginger)
3/4 tbsp of fish sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tbsp of toasted sesame oil
1 tsp of raw honey 
1/4 tsp of paleo sriracha 

1. Chop your veggies and make your sauce before you begin.
2. Place the wok over medium-high heat and allow the ghee to melt.
3. When the wok is hot, add the pork, coconut aminos, and rice vinegar. Move the meat around constantly to cook the meat on all sides, essentially flash frying, for about 5 minutes. 
4. Add all the veggies except the zucchini and the sauce. 
5. Continue to move the veggies around in the wok to coat with the sauce for about 10 minutes. 
6. Add the zucchini and sesame seeds and toss to combine for an additional 3-5 minutes (less if you prefer your zucchini crunchy).
7. Serve immediately and use chop sticks. It's more fun that way!

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