I never ate Chinese food as a child. My dad is an incredibly picky eater, and this is something he absolutely refused (and still refuses) to eat, so you can see where I got it. But, one chicken chop suey at a restaurant while out with my mom, and I was hooked. Thing is, I got stuck on chicken chop suey and never tried anything else.
As a freshman in college, I fell head over heels for a local Japanese and Chinese restaurant that was a few blocks from campus. But once again, I got into an ordering funk and stuck to my signature dish–there, it was chicken fried rice. I liked this fried rice more than any others I’d had because it had finely sliced peapods (my absolute favorite), and lots of other veggies; not just the standard (or, what I thought was the standard) peas and carrots.
These days, it’s pretty rare for me to order fried rice or even chop suey at a Chinese restaurant. I tend to be more into Kung Pao or sesame chicken, or Mongolian beef. So there you have it, the timeline of my Chinese food eating.
Still, I get cravings for chop suey or lo mein from time to time, but I try to make those dishes at home rather than ordering them out. I mean, if I am going to eat all those calories, I might as well have something that tastes deliciously unhealthy, like fried sesame chicken, rather than something that seems almost healthy (even though it usually isn’t) like chop suey.
This is a recipe for a healthier version of pork fried rice. It uses lean pork tenderloin and brown rice, as well as minimal oil. It comes in at just under 500 calories for a healthy sized portion. But don’t worry, it still tastes great and will definitely nip your craving for Chinese food in the bud! For a little more oomph, you can drizzle some toasted sesame oil over the top.
Pork Fried Rice
2 eggs, lightly beaten and a little oil or cooking spray
2 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
1 (1 lb.) pork tenderloin, cut into bite sized pieces
1 bunch green onions, sliced (greens and whites separated)
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 small carrots, sliced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 knob of ginger, peeled & grated or minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 cup frozen peas
3-4 cups cold cooked brown rice (from 1 cup raw)
1 cup peapods, sliced
2-3 Tbsp. light soy sauce
Heat a large pan or wok over medium heat and add a little oil or cooking spray. Add the eggs and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook the eggs without scrambling (so they look like a pancake). Remove from the pan and cut into pieces. Set aside.
Add 2 tsp. of oil to the pan and increase the heat. Season the pork with salt and pepper, and then add to the hot oil. Cook for a minute before adding the white parts of the green onions (set the sliced green tops aside), celery, carrots, garlic, mushrooms, ginger and red pepper flakes. Stir fry for about 2 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp.
Add the remaining 4 tsp. of oil to the pan. Add the rice, peapods and peas. Stir to coat with the oil and allow to warm through and start to get “fried” for a minute or two. Add the soy sauce and the egg you sliced earlier. Season to taste, and top with the sliced green onion tops.