Ginger Pork Donburi
There are a few essential things that I never want to run out of in my kitchen, one of the most important of which is a big lump of ginger. I use it almost every day in so many forms; minced for stir-fry; grated for a noodle dish garnish; candied for scones or biscotti; pickled as a sushi accompaniment; and sometimes as a natural remedy, juiced into honey and lemon flavored hot water to help cure a sore throat.
Lately, I’ve been eating my way through lots of cheeses, pasta dishes and pizzas, and finally felt that I had to cook something nourishing and get a Japanese fix this week. That is my all-time go-to-dish: ginger pork donburi, AKA shouga-yaki, with rice. It’s an ultimate, one frying pan, easy meal that I have been enjoying ever since I was a child. For varied textures, I add some veggies to my grandma’s standard shouga-yaki (ginger and pork), but I remember her absolute favourite accompaniment for this dish at dinnertime was a chilled Japanese potato salad! Oh, no matter how old I have become, I can still devour this dish because the greasy soy ginger sauce elevates the simple protein and vegetable meal to a whole new level!
Ginger Pork Donburi
The key to successfully create this dish is to make sure the pan is smoking hot before cooking the pork, so that the pork’s moisture is sealed inside rather than letting the juice out of pork and creating a watery finish.
Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons ginger, grated
4 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1.5 lbs boneless pork loin chops, sliced into ¼ inch pieces
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 small yellow onions (about 3 cups) cut into ½ inch thickness
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into ¼ inch wedges
3 cups baby spinach leaves
Cooked rice for serving
Combine the ginger, soy sauce and cornstarch well in a large bowl, and marinate the pork, covered and refrigerated for about 20 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare the vegetables.
Heat a large, well-seasoned frying pan with half of the oil over high heat. Sautee the onion until slightly transparent, and then add the peppers. Continue until onions turn transparent. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the rest of the oil, and then add the pork when the pan is smoking hot. Do not stir until pork turns nicely brown. Repeat this to cook the other sides. When the pork is no longer pink in the centre, return the vegetables and stir to combine. Add the spinach leaves, combine well, and then immediately remove from the heat. Let the spinach wilt.
Serve hot on a bed of rice in individual bowls.