This Pork Stir Fry is the kind of simple dish that every Japanese home has a version of. Known in Japan as nira buta, the nira refers to garlic chives (also called Chinese chives), and the buta is the pork. This is a lightening fast recipe that works well with other dishes on the dinner table. It’s also something a parent might whip up after school to hold you over until dinner and it could even satisfy as an exceptional late night snack. Quick, easy, and delicious. Let’s get started!
Like many stir-fries, there is room for experimentation. Sometimes the chives are stir fried with bean sprouts or chicken and sometimes the egg is omitted. When meat is used, like I am here, it’s in a typically Asian way. The meat is more of a flavoring than the star of the show. The 8 ounces of pork here serves 4 as an appetizer, which is a far cry from the standard Western practice 0f 6-8 ounces of meat per person. So this is a pretty economical and healthy dish as well.
Garlic chives are a totally different animal than the chives you are probably already familiar and should not be confused with the fine delicate French chives in the herb section of the grocery store. Those chives will not work in this stir fry. There are two main types of garlic chives you will find available here in the States. You can find both of them at an Asian grocery store in the produce section. The first type is flat and looks like a blade of grass. It is soft and tender, and used in Korean dishes like kimchi, in Chinese potstickers, and in Japanese stir fries. You can use that garlic chive here, but it cooks in seconds so you’ll want to cook it for less time. But the type of chive we’re using today is the flowering type. It has a more sturdy look with a thicker stem capped with a bud. The buds are typically closed tightly. When purchasing garlic chives, look for a bunch that is green and fresh. Avoid any that are slimy, a faded color, or dried out.
Stir Fry Basics
Since stir fries come together so quickly, it’s important to have everything prepped and within reach before you start cooking. Otherwise you run the risk of your pork burning while you dash around the kitchen frantically trying to find the sesame oil. So prep the chives, cut the meat, scramble the eggs, and lay it all out with the sauce ingredients by your stovetop.
Just a note, the ends of the flowering garlic chives are very fibrous. I always take a generous 1 1/2 inches off of the bottom so that the I don’t end up with a mouthful of tough bits. And the buds are completely edible so there’s no need to cut them off. However, if you’re using regular garlic chives, which are more tender, a little trim off the bottom will do it.
Heat the pan for several minutes before adding the oil. You want that pan very very hot. Then add the oil right before the other ingredients so it doesn’t smoke. The key to successful stir frying without a wok and incredibly high heat is to let the protein cook undisturbed with plenty of space before continuing with the stir fry. This technique gets a good sear on the meat and prevents liquid from pooling in the pan, which would interfere with your stir fry.
I like a softly cooked egg so I turn off the heat when I add it in. The residual heat in the pan will continue to cook the egg. What you end up with is similar to a carbonara where the egg turns into a thick sauce. Of course, you can cook the egg how you like; that’s the beauty of cooking for yourself! Next, transfer the stir fry to a plate and you’re all set.
You can serve this Pork Stir Fry with Java Rice to make it a complete meal. It’s also delicious served with:
Or you could just devour it to keep the hangries at bay, like we do in Japan. Try it this week and let me know what you think by rating and commenting on the recipe below, and don’t forget to tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!
- 8 ounces pork loin
- 2 Tablespoons neutral oil
- 1 bunch flowering garlic chives, about 11 ounces
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- Trim the bottom inch of the garlic chives and discard. Cut the chives into 2 inch pieces and set aside.
- Cut the pork in half lengthwise and then into thin strips. Set aside.
- Crack the eggs and lightly scramble with a fork. Set aside.
- Heat a large 12” skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil and tilt the skillet and swirl the pan to coat with oil. Add the pork, let it cook for 1 minute undisturbed and then stir fry for 1 minute.
- Add the garlic chives and continue cooking for 1 minute, stir frying to move the ingredients around the pan.
- Add the oyster sauce, salt, and pepper and stir to combine.
- Add the scrambled egg, stir, and turn the heat off the pan. Gently stir a couple times until the egg is cooked to your liking. I typically only cook it halfway through so it’s more like a thickened sauce.
- Transfer the pork stir fry to a plate and serve immediately.
Keywords: nira buta, stir fry, pork, garlic chives, chinese chives,