Garlic Scape Stir Fry with Pork (蒜苔炒肉丝)

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Garlic scape stir fry with pork is a Chinese homestyle dish that helps you incorporate garlic scapes into your weekday dinner. The crisp garlic scapes are cooked with tender pork in a brown sauce that’s just enough to coat the ingredients. It’s fragrant, rich, and comforting, making it a hearty main dish over steamed rice. {Gluten-Free Adaptable}

Suan Tai Chao Rou si

Garlic scape and pork stir fry is a very popular and classic homestyle dish that I’ve been eating since childhood. That means that you probably wouldn’t find it in a restaurant, but it’s a dish that’s perfect for your weekday dinner.

To create the best texture and appearance, the pork is cut into thin strips so it has the same shape as the cut garlic scapes. The sauce is a super simple brown sauce made with soy sauce and a touch of sugar. Because when you cook with garlic scapes, which are like a combo of aromatic and vegetable, you really don’t need much else to make your dish extra flavorful.

Garlic scape stir fry with pork
Garlic scape stir fry with pork close up

Garlic scape stir fry with pork ingredients

Asian garlic scapes vs. US garlic scapes

Before you start cooking, understand the type of garlic scapes you have. Chances are, if you got yours from an Asian market, it’s probably the Asian type. The ones from the grocery store, farmer’s market and CSA are probably the American type.

The Asian type has straighter stems and a lighter color. The texture is tenderer and easier to cook through. The American type has a darker color with a very curly stem. It is much tougher than the Asian type and requires a slightly different cooking method to taste good (more details in the recipe below). 

Asian garlic scape
American garlic scape

How to cut garlic scapes

To cut garlic scapes, first cut off about 1 to 2” from the stem on the bottom and discard those ends because they tend to be quite tough. You should also remove the tip at the very top, where it’s shaped like the green part of the green onion. Most of the time this tip is quite dried out. And even if it’s not super dry, it’s quite fibrous and can be chewy even after cooking.

How to cut the pork

It can be a bit of a challenge to cut the pork into thin strips. I like to thaw my pork in the fridge, and cut it when it’s still slightly frozen. You can also freeze fresh pork for 30 minutes or so, so it hardens a bit and becomes easier to cut.

It’s important to cut the pork along the grain, so it won’t fall apart during cooking. 

My favorite cut for this dish is pork tenderloin. You can slice it crosswise into thin circles, and then slice the circle along the grain into thin strips.

If you have trouble with this cutting method, it’s totally fine to slice the pork into thin pieces (1/4”,  4mm thick). The appearance is less ideal but the taste will still be great. 

Mise en place

Before you start cooking, your table should have:

  • Marinated pork
  • Cut up garlic scapes
  • Mixed sauce
  • Minced ginger

Sorry I forgot to take a photo of the setup! The dish is so easy to put together so I went into auto pilot mode 😛

How to cook garlic scapes 

  1. Spread out the pork as much as possible without overlapping, then cook without touching until the bottom is slightly browned
  2. Flip the pork and cook until just cooked through, then transfer to a plate
  3. Gently saute the aromatics
  4. Cook the garlic scapes until turning tender
  5. Add the sauce and mix well
  6. Add back the pork and mix again
How to make garlic scape stir fry with pork step-by-step

Now you can serve this dish as a main course over steamed rice or as one of the main courses in a multi-dish meal.

The sauce is just enough to coat all the ingredients but the flavor is so rich and pairs very well with steamed rice.

A few days ago I also shared a super easy stir fried garlic scape with eggs recipe. Check it out if you’d like an even easier garlic scape recipe for your lunch or dinner! 

Garlic Scape Stir Fry with Pork (蒜苔炒肉丝)

Other delicious stir fry recipes

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Garlic scape stir fry with pork is a Chinese homestyle dish that helps you incorporate garlic scapes into your weekday dinner. The crisp garlic scapes are cooked with tender pork in a brown sauce that’s just enough to coat the ingredients. It’s fragrant, rich, and comforting, making it a hearty main dish over steamed rice. {Gluten-Free Adaptable}

Garlic Scape Stir Fry with Pork (蒜苔炒肉丝)

Garlic scape stir fry with pork is a Chinese homestyle dish that helps you incorporate garlic scapes into your weekday dinner. The crisp garlic scapes are cooked with tender pork in a brown sauce that’s just enough to coat the ingredients. It’s fragrant, rich, and comforting, making it a hearty main dish over steamed rice. {Gluten-Free Adaptable}
To make the dish gluten-free, use dry sherry instead of Shaoxing wine, and use tamari to replace light and dark soy sauce. Your dish will have a much lighter color if using tamari, since dark soy sauce is the one that adds the dark brown color.
Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: homestyle
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 3 to 4

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 6 oz (170 g) pork loin , sliced to 1” (2.5 cm) long 1/4” (5 mm) matchsticks (or tenderloin)
  • 1/2 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce (or soy sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce (or soy sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce (or regular soy sauce) (*footnote 1)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (*footnote 2)

Stir fry

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 thumb ginger , minced
  • 12 oz (340 g) garlic scapes , sliced into 1” (2.5 cm) pieces (yields 2 1/2 cups once cut)

Instructions

  • Combine the pork, Shaoxing wine, soy sauce and peanut oil in a small bowl. Mix well. Add the cornstarch and mix with your fingers to coat the pork evenly.
  • Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Spread the pork with as little overlap as possible. Let cook for 1 minute, until the bottom is lightly browned. Flip and stir a few times, until the pork is just cooked through. Transfer to a plate.
  • Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil and the ginger. Stir a few times to release fragrance.
  • Add the garlic scapes. Cook and stir for 2 minutes for Asian garlic scapes, until the garlic scapes start to soften. Cook for a longer time for American garlic scapes (*footnote 3). Taste a piece of garlic scape. It should be starting to turn tender and easy to bite into.
  • Pour the sauce over the garlic scapes. Stir and cook until the garlic scapes have turned tender but are still a bit crisp, or to the degree you prefer, 1 minute or so. Return the pork to the pan and stir a few times to mix everything well, then immediately transfer to a large serving plate. Serve hot as a main dish over steamed rice.

Notes

  1. Dark soy sauce adds a beautiful dark brown color to the dish and a light caramelized taste. If you do not have it, you can replace it with regular soy sauce and add a touch of molasses (a heaping 1/8 teaspoon) if preferred.
  2. Skip the salt if you do not plan to serve this dish with rice.
  3. If using American garlic scapes, you will need a much longer cooking time because their skin is quite thick and tough. My favorite way to cook with American garlic scapes is to splash a tablespoon of Shaoxing wine during the stir fry. The wine will evaporate and lightly steam the garlic scapes, so they cook faster. It also adds a nice aroma to the dish. If you do not wish to use Shaoxing wine, add a splash of broth (chicken or vegetable broth), or a splash of water.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 287kcal, Carbohydrates: 30.8g, Protein: 17.5g, Fat: 11.5g, Saturated Fat: 3.2g, Cholesterol: 34mg, Sodium: 414mg, Potassium: 551mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Calcium: 165mg, Iron: 2mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Don’t forget the last step! Leave a comment below, and tag me @OmnivoresCookbook and #OmnivoresCookbook on Instagram!

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