Thursday, June 17, 2010

So You Think You Cannot Cook

My husband thought that he could not cook anything, at all, until I introduced this recipe. He does not like cooking...just eating. We used to have a long distance relationship and whenever I visited him there were towers of pizza boxes and cans of coke in the shape of pyramids on his kitchen counter. It was bachelor life gone horribly wrong. To help him out I used to cook rice and Japanese curry and then freeze it all before I left. I did not want him to eat unhealthy all the time and I thought I could make a difference in one person's life. That was then.

8 years and 1 kid later, I am not so philanthropic. Sorry honey. My daughter was a colic baby and the first 4 months were unbearable. I did not even take a shower everyday, so cooking was not a priority either. My husband often brough home pho or teriyaki from a nearby restaurant but I was getting tired of those foods and I was missing a homemade meal. It was time for me to teach my husband how to fish.

I had to ask myself, what would be the best way to motivate him to learn to cook for me? Why not teach him how to make one of his favorites that I always cook, and make sure it was easy! I now had a plan. The recipe is called Pork Bok Choy. It requires only 5 ingredients (2 out of these 5 are salt and pepper). It is so easy and so delicious that you will find yourself eating bowl after bowl of rice along with it too.

At this point you may be wondering if the old adage applies, "never try to teach your spouse anything new - it will end badly." Entire industries, such as driver's ed, rely on strict adherence to this fact. Spouses are not supposed to try to teach other anything, you have no tolerance for each other. But I was desperate, hungry, and had no where else to turn. I needed someone to cook and I needed them now.
It worked! He tolerated me and learned how to cook Pork Bok Choy. It was amazing, a little too much saunce the first 10 tries but he's starting to get used to it. Now whenever I am sick or busy, he cooks this or other meals from his repetoire, as short as it may be, for me and my daughter. I really appreciate him for attempting to cook more and help me out. This recipe is so easy my husband can cook it, and if you knew him well you'd realize just how easy it must be. Here it is.
Pork & Bok Choy with Oyster Sauce

  • 1 lb of thinly sliced pork (butt and shoulder cut) for Sukiyaki cut into about 1 inch square. Asian grocery stores will have this prepackaged.
  • 8 bok choy sliced in 1/2 inch pieces.
  • 1/4 cup of oyster sauce.
  • salt
  • pepper
  • vegetable oil
How to make:
  1. Cut the pork into 1 inch squares. Slice bok choy 1/2 inch thick and separate the white part (towards the root) and green part (leafy part).
  2. Heat a wok or large pan and 1/2 tsp of vegetable oil.
  3. Cook pork first and sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. When the pork is cooked, add white part of bok choy and sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 3 - 5 minutes.
  5. Add the green part of bok choy and sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 2 - 3 minutes.
  6. Add 1/4 cups of oyster sauce.
  7. Taste and if you like more salt, pepper, or oyster sauce, add them to suit your taste.


  1. I love oyster sauce, that's like my secret stir-fry weapon. You can never go wrong with this sauce when you want things to taste good or taste right.

  2. Thanks for the recipe. It looks delicious! I bet I can get my husband to cook this. He's a pretty good cook, but tends to stick with desserts ... which doesn't do me much good until AFTER dinner ... :)

  3. Hi Jiale,

    I know. I cook vegetable with it all the time. It is so great!! I remember you cooked for me several times. You are such a good cook. I hope to have a chance to eat your food again. :)

  4. Hi Taji,

    Wow, your husband can cook and BAKE (make dessert)??? Wow. How did you find him? :) Do you cook Japanese food? What kind of food do you like to eat?

  5. yummy! I'm putting this on my summer meal list! Love bok choy!

  6. Hi Georgia,

    When you cook. let me know what you tihnk of it. ;) I LOVE bok choy too!!

  7. "I did not even take a shower everyday, so cooking was not a priority . . . "

    Oh Ai, you're so funny! I NEVER shower every day - more like every other day. And when Alex was newborn I was lucky to get in a shower every 3rd day!!

    I'll have to try this one, but I'm a little wary of the oyster sauce. Does it actually have oysters in it? Or does the name come from it being primarily used with oysters? If it's actually made of oysters do you have any recommendations for a sauce without seafood in it?

  8. Hi Martina,

    Thank you for your comment Martina! :) I still don't shower everyday. I try to but sometimes I forget. ;) I am glad to know I am not the only one here.

    Oyster sauce has a little bit of oyster essence. More info. (
    Are you allergic to seafood? If so it is better for you to not use it. If you are worried about taste, you don't taste oyster. You just taste thickened sweet soy sauce. Unfortunately I don't know what you can use as a substitute. There is a dark sweet soy sauce which is often used in Vietnamees and Thai food. It is like thick soysauce with molasses. Maybe you can use that and regular soy sauce? I have never tried to find a substitute for oyster sauce so I am not a good help here, but closest thing came to my mind now is the dark sweet soy sauce. Let me know if you have more questions. :)

  9. hi,
    Thanks for the recipe:) I made it today and it taste really good. Also it was so easy and quick to make and Chloe love it too. Looking forward to more easy recipe.

  10. Hello Vi,

    Thank you! I love your cooking so much that I wish you have a blog to share your recipe too. I have been too busy to take photos of my cooking so I have been having a hard time updating my blog nowadays, but hopefully I will introduce easy Japanese recipes soon. :)

  11. Yum Yum Yum! I tried this recipe tonight and Pat and I both liked it. I used flank steak instead of pork. I also added onion and pre-minced garlic. In addition, I put it on a bed of brown rice. Super easy....I love it. I need more easy ones like that. Thanks Ai. My husband is super with happy with me. ;D