Ground pork stir fry with cabbage and bok choy
This healthy ground pork stir fry with cabbage and bok choy is to die for! Loaded with veggies, protein, and fiber, this dish marries perfectly crispy Chinese-style ground pork—caramelized and seasoned with aromatics—with a finger-licking, sweet and tangy stir fry sauce.
My easy recipe requires minimal prep time and is made with accessible ingredients—plus, it’s so versatile. For a non-pork option, try my Ground chicken stir fry with green beans. Both pair well with this simple air fryer rice!
Stir fried ground pork is an easy Asian takeout classic loaded with healthy vegetables, flavorful aromatics, and a sweet and tangy sauce. This pork and cabbage stir fry is one of my favorite ground pork dinner recipes because it’s so accessible and it tastes just like mom’s.
For the ground pork cabbage stir fry:
- Cabbage: I use Taiwanese cabbage because it’s sweet, juicy, and has a nice crunch. Slice into 2 or 3-inch sections, just like in this Taiwanese cabbage stir fry recipe.
- Bok choy: I prefer baby bok choy, but a large bok choy will also work. Read our guide on how to cut bok choy if you aren’t familiar with this tasty veggie.
- Aromatics: Garlic, ginger, and scallions or green onions are the fundamental flavor base of this dish. Save the green parts of the scallions to use as a garnish.
- Chinese dry red chili peppers: The red pepper adds a nice pop of color to the dish, but they’re not spicy.
- Ground or minced pork: I use one pound of ground pork. You can also use a ground beef and pork mixture if you prefer.
- Coarse sea salt
- Ground white pepper: White pepper is used more than black pepper in Chinese cooking. This gives the dish an authentic flavor and helps to remove any unwanted meat smell.
- Avocado oil: Or another neutral-flavored oil such as peanut oil for sauteing.
For the pork and cabbage stir fry sauce:
- Light soy sauce: Or low sodium soy sauce. Use coconut aminos or tamari for Paleo or gluten-free. Read about these ingredients in our Chinese pantry staples guide.
- Dark soy sauce: Adds a lovely caramelized color to the sauce. If not using soy sauce, substitute with coconut aminos or tamari.
- Aged balsamic vinegar: You can also use Chinese black vinegar if not gluten-free.
- Chinese cooking wine: Or Japanese gluten-free mirin. This is used to deglaze the pan and it also helps remove any unwanted meat smell from the dish.
- Brown sugar: Optional ingredient used to sweeten the sauce.
Substitutions and variations
- Different cabbage: Green cabbage or savoy cabbage will work. They are denser and have less moisture so thinly slice them.
- Other vegetables: Broccoli florets, mushrooms, asparagus, spinach, sliced carrots, baby corn, snow peas or sugar snap peas, bell peppers, and green beans would work well in this dish.
- Without pork: Ground chicken or ground turkey will work well as a ground meat substitute for lean ground pork.
- Vegetarian: Use firm tofu to make this easy ground pork stir fry recipe vegetarian or mix tofu with ground pork. Pat it dry with a paper towel and break it up into small bite sizes.
- Sauce variations: For added spice, serve some garlic chili sauce on the side. For extra savory umami flavor, add some vegetarian oyster sauce to the stir-fry sauce.
- Pork bowls: Make this a pork bowl recipe by serving atop white rice, brown rice, or cauliflower rice and garnish with fresh herbs, sesame seeds, and a drizzle of chili garlic sauce or toasted sesame oil.
How to make the dish
I have many easy ground pork recipes with few ingredients on my website, but this is one of the easiest to make. Follow my expert tips for cooking ground pork so it’s crispy, saucy, and full of flavor. Here are the simple instructions for this healthy and delicious ground pork cabbage recipe.
- Prepare the vegetables, aromatics, and sauce: Cut the cabbage into 2-3 inch sections and chop the bok choy; dice the aromatics; and combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
- Crisp up the caramelized ground pork: Add ground pork to a well-heated large skillet. Break it up, season, and cook over medium-high heat to remove moisture. Add in diced aromatics.
- Saute the vegetables: Remove the cooked pork mixture and use the same pan to cook the cabbage and bok choy.
- Combine with the sauce and serve: Return the pork to the pan and mix in the green scallion parts and the sauce. Stir to coat well. Serve over rice noodles, rice, or your favorite grain.
Tips for extra tasty Chinese-style ground pork
Ready to elevate your cabbage and ground pork stir-fry to the next level? These simple yet effective tips will help you infuse authentic Chinese flavors and achieve perfectly crispy ground pork.
- Season the Ground Pork Perfectly: Ground pork is usually juicier and fattier compared to ground chicken, making it less likely to dry out and easier to infuse with flavors. To get that scrumptious Chinese style taste, start by neutralizing the raw smell of the meat. Add minced garlic, ginger, spring onions, and a bit of ground white pepper. Sometimes, even a few chili peppers are tossed in for those who like it spicy.
To kick it up a notch, use a splash of Chinese cooking wine or Taiwanese michu. This not only adds depth to the flavor but also helps get rid of any lingering raw meat smell.
- Master the Cooking Technique and Texture: For a pound of fresh ground pork, you’ll want to use a large pan or wok (think 12 inches wide or bigger) and a splatter guard to help the moisture evaporate quickly. This will leave you with the perfect texture. Because pork is a bit fattier, you don’t need much oil.
The goal is to break the meat into small bits and cook it over medium-high heat until it’s no longer moist. Continue cooking until you get those delicious, crispy crumbles similar to bacon bits or browned pancetta. Usually, it takes about 12-15 minutes to cook 1 lb of ground pork thoroughly until it’s crispy and packed with flavor.
What else can I make with ground pork
Looking for more ground pork dinner ideas? Here are some easy ground pork recipes from meatballs and hamburgers to wontons and soups that the whole family will love! If you’ve been wondering what to cook with ground pork, I’ve got you covered with these yummy ground pork dishes!
- Make meatballs: Use the recipe from this winter melon soup with meatballs!
- Wonton filling: Make ground pork and shrimp wontons from this wonton egg drop soup.
- Dim sum: My keto dim sum uses juicy pork meatballs wrapped in sweet cabbage leaves.
- Add to soup: Ground pork is amazing in this Sichuan dan dan noodle soup or use it in place of ground beef in my West Lake beef soup recipe.
- Hamburger patties: Make this super flavorful Japanese hamburger steak recipe with Paleo Worcestershire sauce.
- Add flavor to stir-fries: Pork mince adds great flavor to this Chinese eggplant with garlic sauce stir fry.
How to make ahead, store, and reheat
Ground pork and bok choy with cabbage is a great dish for meal prep because it stores and reheats well.
- Make-ahead: To reduce total time, prep your cabbage, bok choy, aromatics, and sauce ahead of time. Store them in separate airtight containers in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.
- Storage: Once cooked, store leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Reheat: Reheat on the stovetop until it’s warmed through, or microwave on high for 1 minute.
What to serve with ground pork and cabbage stir fry
This ground pork and cabbage recipe makes a well-balanced dinner when served with rice, noodles, or cauliflower rice if you’re watching carbohydrates. Top with your favorite garnishes for a ground pork rice bowl or serve with extra veggie sides and noodle dishes for a Chinese feast.
- Vegetable sides: Pair with Paleo kimchi, Chinese smashed cucumber salad, Korean cucumber kimchi, Chinese garlic green beans, or garlic broccoli stir fry.
- Rice dishes: In addition to plain rice of your choice, this dish goes well with this Din Tai Fung fried rice recipe with shrimp, or choose Shirataki rice for a low-carb option.
- Ground pork noodles: Add to these smokey garlic chili noodles or these gluten-free Japanese hibachi noodles.
- High Heat is Key: Keep your wok or skillet really hot to ensure the meat and vegetables get a nice sear. A consistent sizzle should be heard to ensure flavors are locked in.
- Brown the Pork Well: Allow the ground pork to cook until it’s nicely browned and crispy. This adds a rich flavor and texture reminiscent of crispy bacon.
- Dry Your Vegetables: Ensure your cabbage and bok choy are well-drained and patted dry. This helps avoid steaming and maintains the crisp texture we love in stir-fries.
- Season Pork Using Aromatics: Sauté garlic, ginger, and white parts of the scallions first to release their fragrant oils and flavor the oil, creating a base layer of taste for the entire dish.
- Splash of Wine: Use a bit of Chinese cooking wine or Taiwanese michu to deglaze the pan and add an extra layer of flavor while also reducing any gamey smell of the meat.
- Control Moisture: Be mindful of the moisture content. The dish should be flavorful and moist but not wet or soggy. Adjust the heat if you find too much liquid accumulating.
- Sauce in Stages: Add the sauce gradually while continuously tossing the ingredients to evenly coat every piece with the delicious flavors.
- Splatter Guard, Not Lid: Use a splatter guard to allow moisture to escape, ensuring the ingredients crisp up nicely instead of steaming.
- Prep Aromatics and Sauce Ahead: Having everything chopped, measured, and ready to go (mise en place) makes the quick cooking process smoother and ensures you don’t overcook any element while looking for the next ingredient.
- Taste and Adjust: Always taste your dish near the end of cooking to adjust seasoning. Remember, it’s easier to add more seasoning than to fix an over-seasoned dish!
Cook ground pork for about 12-15 minutes over medium-high heat until it’s well-browned and crispy, resembling the texture of bacon bits. Always ensure it’s cooked through to 160°F.
Season ground pork with minced garlic, ginger, scallions, salt, white pepper, and optionally chili peppers. Splash some Chinese cooking wine for extra flavor and to reduce any gamey smell.
Ground pork is versatile! Use it in stir-fries, meatballs, dumplings, tacos, or burgers. It’s perfect for adding rich, savory flavors to a variety of dishes.
More Asian ground pork recipes you might like
If you’re looking for more ground pork recipes for dinner, be sure to give these a try!
- Chinese lion’s head meatballs braised with cabbage
- Vietnamese lemongrass meatballs with herb-infused dipping sauce
- Gluten free wonton soup with pork and shrimp wontons
- Tsukune meatballs with keto teriyaki sauce
Ground pork stir fry recipe with cabbage and bok choy
- 9 oz (Taiwanese) cabbage or Green or Savoy, slice to 2-3 inch sections
- 6 oz bok choy, 6 baby bundles
- 0.6 oz garlic cloves, finely minced, 4 large
- 0.3 oz ginger, finely minced, one small thumb size
- 3 bulb scallions, diced and separate white and green parts
- 3 whole Chinese dry red chili peppers, optional
- 1 lb. ground pork
- 1 tsp coarse sea salt, divided
- 1/4 tsp ground white pepper, plus dash more for garnish
- 0.5-1 tbsp avocado oil, divided
- Prepare cabbage: Remove any damaged outer leaves and trim the base of the the cabbage. Quarter the cabbage then cut out the dense central cores at a 45-degree angle then slice the quarters into 2-3 inch lengths for bite-size pieces; dice any denser sections nearer the core slightly smaller. If using green cabbage, slice it thinner.
- Prepare bok choy: Slice the baby bok choy in half. For thicker bulbs, quarter it or chop it up.
- Rinse and pat dry: Rinse the cabbage and bok choy, drain, and pat dry to remove excess moisture.
- Aromatics and Sauce: Prepare the garlic, ginger, scallions (separate white and green parts), and dry red chili peppers, if using. Set them aside in one small plate. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and stir well.
- Stir fry pork: Preheat a large wok (12-inch or larger) until it feels hot, add 0.5 tbsp oil and the ground pork. You should hear sizzling sound throughout. This means your temperature is correct. If not, turn heat up a bit more. Break up the meat to fine bits over medium-high heat, 5 minutes.
- Season the pork with ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp white pepper. Continue sauteing, breaking up, and browning the meat until the liquid evaporates, 6-7 minutes.
- Push the meat to the side. Add the chopped aromatics (garlic, ginger, white scallions parts, and chili peppers) in the middle with ¼ tsp salt. Then toss and combine further with the meat for 2 minutes. Now taste it. The meat should be lightly seasoned that’s not too salty. Transfer the ground pork to a large serving plate and leave the oil behind in the wok.
- Saute vegetables: Use the same pan, add the remaining half tablespoon oil, if needed. Add the baby bok choy and cabbage and ¼ tsp salt. Saute over medium-high heat for 2 minutes.
- Combine with sauce: Add the green scallion parts and return the pork to the pan. Turn heat up to high. Give a quick toss then pour in the sauce little-by-little while sauteing at the same time. Toss to combine for 30 seconds then turn off the heat.
- Transfer to a large serving plate. Sprinkle with a small dash of white pepper. Serve hot with rice.
- Achieve the Perfect Ground Meat Texture: Ensure the ground pork is well-browned and has a crispy, caramelized texture. Let all the moisture from the meat evaporate to really bring out the flavors. Break the meat down into small, fine pieces during cooking, so every bite is seasoned to perfection.
- Keep Your Veggies Crispy: Monitor your stove’s temperature closely to maintain a consistent sizzle in the pan. The vegetables should stay crisp and vibrant. A continuous sizzle means the temperature is just right!
- Avoid a Watery Dish: The final dish should be flavorful, not watery. A bit of moisture is fine, but the skillet shouldn’t be swimming in liquid. Aim for crispy veggies and pork that’s as crispy as bacon bits for the best taste and texture.
- No Need for Starch Unless Necessary: If you nail the stir-fry timing and maintain the right pan temperature, you shouldn’t need to add any starch. The exception is if the vegetables are overcooked the meat isn’t crisped properly, or you’re aiming for a saucier dish. Only then consider adding cornstarch or another thickening agent.
- Serving Suggestions: This dish is a crowd-pleaser with steamed rice and kimchi on the side. The combination of flavors will have everyone asking for seconds!
- Choose the Right Cookware: Use a large skillet or pan, ideally one that’s 12 inches or larger. A 6-quart Dutch oven also works well for this kind of stir-fry.
- Use a Splatter Guard: When you’re stir-frying, opt for a splatter guard instead of a lid. This allows moisture to escape, ensuring your food gets that desirable crispiness instead of steaming.
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