If you’ve been around Island Vittles for awhile, then you’ll know I have an obsession with stinging nettles as food.
I’ve been out foraging almost everyday for the past week, spending 15-30 minutes a day clipping and gathering the tops off what most consider noxious weeds, but are, in reality, the healthiest, tastiest and cheapest food on the planet.
Go on…they won’t bite! At most, they’ll give ya a wee sting.
That’s probably one thing I miss the most from the big city – especially Vancouver and all of her authentic ethnic restaurants – easy access to really good Chinese delivery or takeout.
Over our 14 years here, I’ve experimented a lot with my wok. I make a pretty mean fried rice, but while most of my efforts are decent, but they’re not quite right…Until now. The pork is so good, I’d proudly put it up against the same dish at ChongQing, our favourite “local” when we lived in Vancouver. It’s crunchy and sweet, the perfect accompaniment to a plate of stinging nettle fried rice.
No nettles? A bunch of spinach will taste (almost) as good.
(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)
A take-out favourite spiked with wild food.
Serves 3 to 4
- Vegetable Oil – ¼ Cup, divided
- Nettle Tips or Spinach – 3 large handfuls
- Ginger, minced – 1 tsp
- Eggs, beaten – 2
- Cooked Rice, cooled – 3 Cups
- Soya Sauce – 1 Tble
- Sherry – 2 Tble
- Green onion, sliced – 2
Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok over medium heat.
When the oil is shimmering, add the nettles or spinach and ginger. Toss constantly until limp. Add the eggs and cook undisturbed until the edges set, about 1 minute. Break up and toss the eggs with a spatula until cooked through.
Add the rice and remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Toss until hot. Deglaze with soya sauce and sherry, add chopped green onion, and after one final toss, taste and add more soya sauce if necessary, then remove to a plate. Keep warm in the oven.
Take-out taste at home.
Serves 3 to 4
- Pork Tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin and fat – 1 lb
- Egg – 1
- Soya Sauce – 1 Tble
- Fresh Ground Pepper – ½ tsp
- Cornstarch or Tapioca Starch – ½ Cup
- Baking Soda – 1 tsp
- Honey – ½ Cup
- Sherry – ¼ Cup
- Garlic, grated or minced, 3 cloves
- Vegetable Oil, for frying
- Green onion, sliced – 1, for garnish
Slic the pork tenderloin into thin strips about 2” long. Place in a bowl or large ziploc bag. Add the egg, soya sauce and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
Mix together the cornstarch and baking soda. Sprinkle half over the meat and toss well. Repeat with the remaining half.
Heat 2” of vegetable oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, mix together the honey, sherry and garlic in a small bowl. Set aside.
When the oil is hot (350° on an instant-read thermometer), add a large handful of the pork. Break up with a slotted spoon or spatula, and fry until golden, about 2 minutes. Drain on a paper-towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining meat.
Pour out the oil into a heat proof container (see notes), then return the wok to the stove. Add the fried pork and the sauce, tossing well to combine. Once it thickens slightly, remove from the heat, garnish with green onions and serve hot over fried rice.
- I use cheapish sherry instead of Chinese cooking wine, which is nasty swill that has been heavily salted so it can be sold in the grocery store.
- I pour the hot deep-fry oil into a large cast iron pan on top of the stove where it can safely cool down while we eat dinner.