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Brown Sauce

Growing up on the East Coast, open-kitchen Chinese takeout joints were ubiquitous. It seemed like when you ordered food at these places, most stuff either came in a brown sauce or a white sauce. There were exceptions such as sweet and sour sauce or whatever sauce came with General Tso’s Chicken, but everything else? Brown or white.

Personally, I preferred the brown sauce. I always thought white sauce was kind of weird.

Anyhow, last week I picked up some bok choy at the farmer’s market and one of my favorite dishes is bok choy with brown sauce. Add some ground pork and serve it with brown rice for a quick, balanced, and healthy meal.

Brown sauce

Bok Choy with Ground Pork in Brown Sauce
- serves 2 -

3/4 lb bok choy, rinsed and chopped into 2″ x 2″ pieces
1/2 lb ground pork
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2″ knob of ginger, washed and sliced thinly
1.5 Tbsp oyster sauce (I like Lee Kum Kee’s Premium Oyster Sauce)
1.5 Tbsp soy sauce
canola oil
kosher salt
Sriracha (optional)

1. Heat a skillet or saute pan over medium heat with 1 tsp of canola oil.

2. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and stir fry until fragrant, approx 30 seconds.

3. Add ground pork with a couple pinches of salt and stir fry until all traces of pink almost disappear.

4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl make the brown sauce by mixing together the oyster sauce and soy sauce, with a squirt of sriracha if you’d like. Taste and adjust, but keep in mind it won’t seem as salty once you add it to the pan. If you think it’s too salty, though, you can add water to dilute. Start with a tsp of water and go from there, adjusting according to taste.

5. When the pork is almost completely cooked, push the pork to the sides of the pan and add the ginger slices to the now empty center of the pan. Fry the ginger until fragrant, about a minute or so.

6. Add the bok choy to the pan and mix it with the pork and ginger, then add the brown sauce to the pan and mix thoroughly. Cover and cook until the bok choy is crisp tender, not more than a couple of minutes. Serve!


    1. Carol says:

      Looks yummy! I love bok choy. =) I wonder how your recipe would work if I substituted Hoisin sauce for the oyster sauce? Lawrence isn’t a huge fan of oyster sauce…

    2. JL McNamara says:

      Hm, hoisin sauce is a bit sweeter so you might need to add more soy sauce or water to balance it out. For some reason I would also be inclined to add the sauce mixture to the pork before I added the bok choy. I don’t know why. Depending on how much you dilute the hoisin sauce, I’d also keep a closer eye to make sure the sauce didn’t burn since there’s more sugar in hoisin.

      I think you should give it a try and report back! :)

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