Friday, March 24, 2017

Spicy Sichuan black bean pork and tofu with dandelion greens and stem "lo mein". Keto-friendly, low-carb.

So last week I won an Instagram contest for a hand-carved dandelion stamp from EnchangingStamps on Etsy by sharing my favorite dandelion recipe.  I shared how, not being a huge fan of bitter flavors, I liked mixing dandelion greens (which are superfoods), into spicy dishes, where the heat mitigates some of the bitterness. My all-time favorite is a pork and tofu dish, inspired by Sichuan Mapo. It's rich with chili oil, Sichuan peppercorns, black bean paste, and, of course, pork fat!

But I've never shared the recipe on my blog :( . . . In fact, I never shared ANY dandelion recipes on my blog! I think it's because there are so many great dandelion recipes out there, I haven't created any original ones myself.

But mixing spicy Asian flavors with bitter dandelions is something that I haven't seen anywhere else, so I'm making today the day I share it with you.

This dish is perfect to serve on top of my keto, gluten-free, paleo, dandelion stem "noodles", which in this case serve as lo-mein. Recipe here 

Despite the large number of ingredients, the whole dish comes together very quickly, and can be on the table in about 30 minutes. If you make your own gluten-free black bean paste, then this dish can be gluten-free, as well as low-carb and keto. You could also omit the pork, double the tofu, and it would be vegan, but the pork is just so amazing here.

Sichuan inspired black bean pork, tofu and wild greens with dandelion

Serves 4-8

2 lbs. ground pork
1 14 oz. package of silken tofu
2 cups of dandelion leaves, roughly chopped
2 cups wild greens, roughly chopped (I used curly dock)
4 tbs. black bean paste
2-6 dried red chilies, minced (seeds removed if you want less heat)
1-4 tbs. chili in oil
1-3 tbs. chili garlic sauce
2 tbs. freshly grated ginger
2-3 tbs. Sichuan peppercorns, smashed
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 tbs. soy sauce
1 tbs. cornstarch
1 tsp. sesame oil
Chili oil for finishing
Olive oil

1. Carefully slice your silken tofu into sheets about 1/3 - 1/2 inch thick. Spread them on paper towels, and cover with more paper towels. Weigh down (I used a dinner plate) and set aside to drain of liquid.

2. Heating the chili in oil, sesame oil, and olive oil in a large sauté pan or wok. You want about 4 tbs. of oil total, so if you use less chili in oil, then use more olive oil. Add in your dried chiles and grated ginger. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until fragrant.

3. Add in your ground pork, breaking it apart as you go. Continue to cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until pork is browned and all the fat is sizzling. Push the pork to the side of the pan, angle so the fat pools in one area of the pan, and add in the black bean paste and chili garlic sauce to the fat. Mix until the black bean paste dissolves into the fat, and then mix everything back together with the pork.

4. Add your chicken or vegetable stock to the pan. Mix everything together and bring to a simmer. Add in the dandelion and other wild greens. Stir and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the greens are cooked, about 8 minutes.

5. In a small bowl, mix your soy sauce and cornstarch until smooth. Gently pour into the pork and greens mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to cook for about 4 minutes, as the sauce thickens.

6. Test for flavor and heat. If you want it spicier, add more chili garlic sauce, and mix in. If you want more salt, add a drizzle of soy sauce.

7. Cut your tofu sheets into cubes, about 1/3" or 1/2" on all sides. Slowly add them to the dish, and mix carefully. You want to avoid breaking the tofu apart. Simmer for another 8 minutes or so, to allow flavors to come together.  Remove from heat, and sprinkle with a generous helping of Sichuan peppercorns.

8. Service with dandelion noodles, rice, lo mein or however you like! Finish the plates with a drizzle of chili oil.

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