February 22, 2013
I’m on a cookbook kick, y’all, and one of my latest faves is the new book by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen, Steamy Kitchen’s Healthy Asian Favorites. Jaden has long been a go-to resource for easy, vibrant Asian cooking that keeps my family well fed during the week. So imagine my excitement when I learned that she put together a collection of her favorite, healthiest recipes. Healthy, fast, Asian food made with easy-to-find ingredients: yes, m’am!
My copy of Jaden’s book is dogeared all over the place—it’s chock full of recipes that I can tell my whole family will love—but I decided to start by putting this book to the test. A real test. (I couldn’t let Jaden off that easily!) The first thing that I made from the book is Sweet and Sour Pork, a dish that is almost always unforgivably sweet and gloppy. Could Jaden deliver a light sweet and sour dish with big flavor and without tons of salt or added sugar?
Why, yes: yes she can.
My family loved this, but they are an easy sell. The bigger news is that I loved this, too. It’s super simple, but hits all the right marks and is a great, laid back weeknight dinner. Sweetened by orange juice and a little honey and tangy thanks to vinegar and ketchup, this stir fry is fresh and balanced. How often have you said that about Chinese take-out?!
The recipe calls for lean meat from pork loin and crunchy bell peppers. juicy tomato and (my favorite) fresh pineapple. I had planned on adding steamed broccoli, but my hungry boys wanted it on the side. You can easily steam broccoli in the microwave and throw it in the wok for a nutritious one-pan meal, no problem. The only other thing you need is a pile of fluffy white rice.
This Sweet and Sour pork has earned Steamy Kitchen’s Healthy Asian Favorites a permanent spot on my kitchen cookbook shelf (you know, the one I actually use to cook!) and I cannot wait to cook my way through it. If even just half of the recipes are as approachable and successful as this one, we’ll be done with take-out forever!
Sweet and Sour Pork
Recipe by Jaden Hair from Steamy Kitchen’s Healthy Asian Favorites
Can be adapted for kids 10+ mos
Sweet and Sour Sauce
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 ounces lean pork tenderloin, cut into very thin strips
1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tomato, cut into 8 wedges
6 ounces fresh pineapple, cut into 1-inch chunks
1. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce.
2. Heat a wok or large saute pan over high heat. When hot, swirl in 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the pork to the pan in a single layer. Cook for 1 minute. Flip the pork and cook for 1 minute longer; the pork should be seared on both sides, but not fully cooked in the middle. Remove from the pan.
3. Turn the heat to medium-high and swirl in the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil. When hot, add the bell peppers, tomato, and pineapple. Stir-fry for 3 minutes.
4. Pour in the sweet and sour sauce and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to low, add the pork, and cook for 3 minutes, or until the pork is cooked through.
*Note: While there is nothing in this that is unsafe for younger eaters, I recommend animal protein beginning at 10+ mos as a personal preference. Cut into age appropriate bite sizes, lean meats can be a good finger foods. If you decide to serve this to younger eaters, just puree into an age appropriate constancy with some rice. Also, because they are high in acid, some recommend holding off on citrus until 12+ mos. The orange juice in this dish is cooked, which cuts down on the acid. If you have any concerns, read up on how to safely introduce high allergen foods.