If you ever venture into a Chinatown in New York City - and yes, there are more than one - it is for certain that you will experience the most authentic flavors and textures of the orient. Chinatown in Manhattan, New York as well as in the metropolitan areas are the home to the largest Chinese population outside of Asia.
Chinese cooking always utilizes fresh vegetables, fish and meat in every dish. If you have an Asian fish or produce market in your area, this is the place you need to shop. You will never find anything unfresh at an Asian market. Chinese cuisine celebrates fresh produce, with emphasis on preserving nutritional content. American-Chinese cuisine on the other hand, will use produce as a garnish in most recipes.
My grilled bok choy soup with pork recipe is very easy to make and has only 5 ingredients which are available in any supermarket.
The only work involved in this recipe is grilling the bok choy. However, I originally created this recipe by roughly chopping the bok choy and adding it to the broth. Grilling does add so much more flavor to this soup and it only takes a few minutes and that is what I recommend. This is simply a comforting and nutritious addition to your winter regimen - or for that matter, any time of year!
5 cups baby bok choy, washed and cut lengthways
10 scallions (spring or green), trimmed of roots and dead leaves
8 cups of beef stock or broth
4 shoulder pork chops on the bone (at least 1/2" wide)
3 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce (or more to your taste)
Vegetable or olive oil for brushing
Cracked black pepper (or ground black pepper)
1. Over a medium-high heat, warm a large shallow skillet/pan or a cast iron flat top grill brushed with a little oil. Brush the cut side of the bok choy with the oil and sprinkle with either cracked black pepper or ground pepper. Place the bok choy cut side down on the pan or grill and cook until a little charred and the green parts start to turn bright green. Remove and set aside. Repeat with the whole scallions.
2. Bring the beef stock or broth to a slow simmer over low to medium heat and add the soy sauce. Place a lid on the pan when doing this, it will get there faster. :) Next, place the raw pork chops into the stock or broth and cover with a lid. Cook for approximately 1 hour or until the pork is very tender and/or falling off of the bone. Remove the chops and bones with a strainer into a separate bowl or plate and let cool enough to handle.
3. Remove the bones and any fat from the chops and then chop or shred the meat by hand into tiny pieces.
4. Roughly chop the bok choy and slice the scallions into 1/2" pieces. Add the bok choy, scallions and the shredded pork back to the pan of stock/broth. Cook for approximately 15 minutes.
Serve with crusty bread for dunking!