Stir Fried Diced Meat and Three Vegetables (肉三丁 Rou San Ding)
September 19, 2020
This dish, Stir Fried Diced Meat and Three Vegetables, says it all in the title. In it, three types of vegetables and meat are diced and then stir fried. It goes extremely well with rice and plain noodles. Kids love it too. The dish is also quite versatile due to flexibility of different combinations between vegetables and meat.
Stir Fried Diced Meat and Three Vegetables (肉三丁）is a super homey Chinese dish and always makes me nostalgic. My middle school cafeteria (in China) would sometimes have this dish as one of the options for lunch. Granted it was not a gourmet dish by any means, us middle-schoolers would always devour it in no time.
Just because it’s a homey dish, doesn’t mean the dish is not thoughtfully put together. Each vegetable and meat serves its own purpose by bringing a different texture, taste, and color into the dish. The most traditional combination for this dish is diced pork with diced potatoes, carrots, and cucumbers. The red carrots give a hint of sweetness; yellow potatoes have a smooth feel; green cucumbers add a refreshing crispness; and the meat provides a nice chewy texture and umami for this dish.
But don’t feel restrained if you do not have the exact vegetables or meat. In fact, there are many variations to this recipe. You can easily come up with your own version. What are some examples of the vegetable and meat choices? You can try zucchini, celery, or green bell peppers in place of the cucumber. Another option is red bell peppers instead of carrots. You can also try onions instead of potatoes. For the meat, chicken or beef instead of pork can work. You can even use baked tofu instead of meat. If you are short on vegetables, you can use two instead of three types. The texture will be slightly different, but the result is always a colorful and savory tasty delight.
If you are looking for some heat, feel free to add a few dried chilis along with ginger at the very beginning. Alternatively, if you have some Chili Bean Sauce (辣豆瓣酱) or Pixian Bean Sauce (郫县豆瓣) handy, you can add 1 or 2 teaspoons at the beginning as well. Just remember to reduce the soy sauce by half to 1 tablespoon if using one of these bean sauces as they are quite salty. You can always add more soy sauce or salt later if it’s not salty enough, but not the other way around.
Gluten Free, Stir Fry, Low Carb
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people
- ~6 to 7 oz (~200g) pork belly or pork shoulder meat1
- 1 medium or 2 small carrots
- 1 medium or 2 small potatoes2
- 1/2 large cucumber or 1 medium cucumber
- 1 1-inch long piece of ginger
- 2 to 3 green onions
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- a pinch of kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup hot water
- Gather all the ingredients. Try to have all the vegetables and meat in equal proportions.
- Dice the pork belly into 1/2 inch (or 1.25 cm) cubes. Set aside in a large plate.
- Wash the carrots, potato, and cucumber. Peeling is optional. Dice all the vegetables into 0.4 inch (or 1 cm) cubes. Rinse the potato once to remove some extra starch. Set aside each diced vegetable side by side with the diced pork belly.
- Mince the ginger and slice the green onion into small pieces. Set aside.
- Heat a large skillet at medium-high heat. When the skillet is getting hot, add the 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Then immediately add the minced ginger, stirring for a few seconds.
- Add the diced pork belly, stirring and tossing frequently. When the meat begins to change color, add half of the green onion pieces, stirring to combine. Then add a pinch of kosher salt, mixing well.
- When the diced pork belly has mostly changed color, add the diced carrots, stirring and tossing frequently with the diced pork, about 1 minute.
- Add the diced potatoes and keep tossing and stirring to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning; about 2 minutes. Add the 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce, stirring to combine. Then add a half cup of hot water.
- Keep stirring for about 2 minutes until half the water has evaporated and the carrots and potatoes are becoming soft. Add the diced cucumbers, stirring and tossing to evenly mix all the vegetables and meat.
- After 1 minute, add the rest of the green onions and keep stirring for another half a minute. If there is still plenty liquid left, add some starch water to the liquid by mixing 1 teaspoon of starch with 1 tablespoon of water. Turn off the heat and add salt to taste.
- Transfer to a large plate and enjoy it while it’s hot.
- When picking meat, I recommend using meat that has both lean and fatty parts. The fatty parts add flavor and texture to the entire dish. My preferred choice for pork is pork belly.
- I prefer yellow or Yukon Gold potato for this dish.