Karen Boughton enjoying the Year of the Pig.

Did you know that last Tuesday, Feb. 5, Chinese New Year 2019 started? And Oh my! Traditionally, no one washes or bathes the whole day in fear of washing off the new year good luck. Thank goodness they do wash the next day! This holiday is a 15-day celebration, but New Year’s Day, last Tuesday, is the most important day of the holiday, when families get together and visit their elders, parents and grandparents to pay their respects. This year, in the Chinese 12-year animal zodiac, is the Year of the Pig. By the way, the celebrating ends on the last day by releasing lanterns to represent letting go of the past and preparing for a fresh start. It is also a day for romance as single men and women look for that certain someone who will win their heart. So I wish y’all a Happy Chinese New Year, “Guo Nian Hao.” Since we are still celebrating, I wanted to make a few fun and easy Chinese-inspired dishes. So “Please Join My Table” and remember to bring your chopsticks!

I’ve been making this dish since 1970, the year Phil and I got married, 49 years ago… easy and Boy, did I impress him with this Asian dish …

Easy Sweet and Sour Pork

1 1/2 pounds boneless pork roast, cut into 2-inch x 1/2-inch strips
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, grapeseed or coconut (what I use)
1 chicken bouillon cube dissolved in 1 cup of hot water
2 16-ounce cans pineapple chunks in syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder or use 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon red miso paste
1 large green pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
1/2 large sweet red pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
1/3 cup sweet white onion (1040 or Vidalia) cut into crescent slices
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced (optional)
Hot cooked brown rice
Chopped green onion 

In a large skillet, brown pork in oil over medium-high heat. Mix well. Add chicken bouillon water and cover and simmer about 30 minutes until tender. Drain pineapple chunks and reserve syrup. In a saucepan, combine brown sugar and arrowroot; add pineapple syrup, soy sauce, miso, vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and add to pork; mix well. Stir in peppers, onion and pineapple. Cook about 3 minutes until vegetables are just barely tender crisp. Serve over rice. Top with chopped green onion.


Red Cooked Chicken

8 cups reduced-salt chicken stock
1/2 cup dark soy sauce
1/3 cup peeled and sliced ginger
1/2 cup light soy sauce
1 teaspoon red miso paste
3 cups Chinese rice wine
4 cinnamon sticks
10 star anise
2 medium pieces dried orange peel
1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3/4 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup honey
12 garlic cloves, crushed
2-3 pounds boneless chicken


2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon red pepper seeds

Steamed rice
Steamed bok choy leaves

Place stock, 2 cups dark soy sauce, ginger, light soy, rice wine, cinnamon, star anise, dried orange peel, 5-spice powder, sesame oil, sugar, honey, miso and garlic in a large stockpot. Bring to the boil, turn heat down and gently simmer for 20 minutes. Turn heat down even further, place chicken in the pot and very gently simmer for 14 minutes (It should bubble infrequently.) Then turn heat off and leave at room temperature for 3 hours (making sure the chicken is fully submerged by placing a plate on top). Gently heat honey, 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce, and seeds in a small saucepan to form a glaze. Remove chicken from pot and cut up Chinese-style with a cleaver. Brush with the honey glaze and serve with steamed rice and bok choy on the side. (Serves about 6 people)


Chinese 5-Spice Powder Blend

1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Mix all well and store in an airtight container. It will keep one year.

Karen Boughton
Author: Karen BoughtonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I grew up in a big, Greek, cooking family. I married my high school sweetheart and soon had three daughters. My husband and I worked in the family’s Greek restaurant, “Zorba’s,” for several years before moving to Baton Rouge and eventually Corpus Christi. There I taught microwave cooking classes for Amana.in studio and on television for three years before moving to Kingwood in the late '80s. I reached out to learn more about regional and international foods, spending 16 years in management in private athletic/dining/country clubs for ClubCorp, where I embraced health and cooking. In 2008 I joined the Tribune Newspapers as food editor, the same time that I became a nutrition advisor and USANA Health Sciences Associate. These two passions have given me better health and the freedom to live life my way.

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