Stirfried Pork with Chinese Chives and Pressed Beancurd

A simple stirfry with a great flavor and a beautiful appearance. In true traditional Chinese style, the meat is certainly treated as a condiment here – it lends flavor without being the primary ingredient, making the dish a good source of healthy protein. If you are vegetarian, you can leave the meat out and increase the amount of beancurd you use.

Garlic chives, jiucai in Mandarin, are available in Asian markets and at farmers’ markets that have vendors of Asian produce. The look like a long, flattened version of our chives and sometimes have buds at the tips. If you can’t find them, you can substitute the more commonly found chives (reduce the cooking time) or scallions cut into thin 2″ long strips. The flavor won’t be identical, but it will be tasty all the same.

Pressed beancurd, called doufu gan (sort of translates into “tofu jerky!”) is literally tofu that has been pressed to squeeze out excess moisture. The result is a firmer texture that some people compare to meat, although the flavor is of course different. Pressed tofu comes in a variety of flavors – the most common one for this dish is five-spice, which has a dark, slightly smoky exterior and an off-white center. You can easily substitute baked tofu, now readily available in most conventional markets, for this ingredient.

I try to use pastured pork for its superior flavor as well as it more environmentally sustainable attributes. You needn’t get the leanest, most expensive cut – the recipe uses very little meat for 4 people and it’s cut very fine, so tenderness is not an issue either.


  • 4 oz pork (I usually use pork shoulder.)
  • 2 squares pressed five-spice beancurd or baked five-spice tofu
  • 4 oz garlic chives (or use 2 oz chives or 4 scallions as mentioned above)
  • 2 T oil
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt, or more to taste

marinade for pork:


  1. Cut the pork into 1/8″ slices across the grain, then cut the slices into shreds that are approximately 1.5″ long. Mix gently with the marinade ingredients and let it rest at least 10 m.
  2. Slice the beancurd 1/8″ thick, then cut the slices into shreds approximately 1.5″ long.
  3. Wash the chives well and cut into 1.5″ lengths – you can keep the buds intact if there are any.
  4. Heat 1 T of oil in the wok until it shimmers.
  5. Add the pork shreds, stirfrying quickly over medium-high heat until they lose their pink color.
  6. Add the soy sauce and salt, stir to mix, then remove to a plate.
  7. Heat the remaining 1 T of oil until it shimmers, add the tofu and stirfry to coat with the oil and heat through.
  8. Add the chives and stirfry gently until the vegetable just wilts but is still bright green.
  9. Add the meat back to the wok, stir to combine and heat thoroughly, then slide onto the serving plate.

2 Responses

  1. Your blog is interesting!

    Keep up the good work!

  2. There is a Szechuan version of this dish, where they add garlic, ginger, sesame oil, Chinese wine, and a bit of hot chili paste, and it is magnificent! One of my all-time favorites, and I’m sorry I don’t have a recipe for it to give. I eat it at a restaurant in my area.

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