How to Cook Everything: The Basics: Pork Stir-Fry with Greens


By Alaina Sullivan

In the time that it takes to wait for take-out, you could already be sinking your chopsticks into this savory stir-fry. Nothing more than pork and greens dressed in a garlicky soy-lime sauce, it is not only weeknight-dinner easy, but also a foundation for any number of variations (each more delicious and more fun than any take-out version). I used red chard here, but any green is fair game (bok choy, spinach, mustard greens, kale and collards are other great options).

The trademark flavors of lime juice and soy sauce create a bright, umami-rich sauce. If you want to give it extra kick, toss in a bit of lime zest and some crushed red pepper flakes. I also added a drizzle of toasted sesame oil (and sesame seeds too) for some nuttiness and extra crunch. Recipe from How to Cook Everything: The Basics.

Pork Stir-Fry with Greens

Far better—and even faster—than any takeout.

Time: 15 minutes, plus time to freeze the meat

Makes: 4 servings

1 pound boneless pork shoulder

1 pound greens (like bok choy or mustard)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

11/2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Juice of 1/2 lime

1/4 cup stock or water, optional

1/2 cup chopped scallions for garnish

1. Put the pork in the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes; once it’s firm, slice it across the grain as thinly as you can, then cut the slices into bite-sized pieces. Rinse the greens well and trim any thick stems if necessary; roughly chop them.

2. Heat a large skillet over high heat until it begins to smoke. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, swirl the pan, then add all the pork. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pork browns and loses its pink color, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the pork to a bowl with a slotted spoon and lower the heat to medium.

3. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Swirl it around and add the garlic. Stir once or twice. As soon as the garlic begins to color—10 to 15 seconds—return the heat to high and add the greens and 2 tablespoons water. Stir frequently, just until the greens wilt, 2 or 3 minutes longer.

4. Add the pork back to the skillet and stir for 1 minute. Add the soy sauce and lime juice, stir, turn off the heat, and taste, adding more soy sauce if you like. If the mixture is drier than you like, add the stock and heat through. Garnish with the scallions and serve immediately.


You can use any greens in this recipe—tender or sturdy—or any of the more unusual greens available at farmers’ markets and Asian grocers. Sometimes, if greens have thick stems, I separate them from the leaves and give them a head start, but here I just chop them up to cook all together, which gives you both crunchy and tender pieces.


8 Other Vegetables to Try. Increase or decrease the cooking time in Step 3 so that they’re still a little crisp when you return the pork to the pan:

1. Bean sprouts

2. Carrots

3. Celery

4. Snow peas

5. Snap peas

6. Green beans

7. Turnips

8. Radishes

Posted in Chinese, Recipes


  1. tjasa t. said...

    wow, looks delicious

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  3. The article is good to read and worth sharing

  4. Mary. McC said...

    Very clear and very delicious! I used carrots, celery, onion & garlic, added a tablespoon of onion jam and some powdered ginger to the sauce (had no lime), then whiskedmin some cornstarch to thicken it.

  5. Ann said...

    Our 12 year old is afraid to try new foods (recovering from a serious digestive disorder). Last night, he tried a tiny taste of Pork Stir-Fry with Greens, then another taste, then another. He loves it. Thank you.

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