Garlic Chive Pork Zucchini Boats with Chili Sauce

published Jul 28, 2022
summer
Garlic Chive Pork Zucchini Boats Recipe

These stuffed zucchini boats are inspired by two dim sum staples: garlic chive pork dumplings and stuffed eggplant.

Serves4

Prep30 minutes to 40 minutes

Cook30 minutes

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Garlic chive pork zucchini boats on platter with crispy chili sauce in ramekin next to platter.
Credit: Photo: Kelly Marshall; Food Styling: Kat Boytsova

These stuffed zucchini boats are inspired by two dim sum staples: garlic chive pork dumplings and stuffed eggplant. Stepping in for the eggplant is tender, plump zucchini. The squash is used in two ways: First, they are hollowed out and the insides are roughly chopped and cooked at high heat until caramelized and jammy. Then, the cooked zucchini is mixed into a pork filling — adding succulence and extending the meat — along with a generous amount of garlic chives, plus cilantro, soy sauce, oyster sauce, a splash of Shaoxing wine, and a drizzle of sesame oil. Secondly, the filling is stuffed back into the hollowed out zucchini jackets and then roasted at high heat until the squash is just cooked through, but retains a tender-crisp bite. A simple sauce of your favorite chili crisp, soy sauce, and black vinegar rounds everything out.

Credit: Photo: Kelly Marshall; Food Styling: Kat Boytsova

If You Make These Pork-Stuffed Zucchini Boats, a Few Tips

  • Go for smaller squash. Size does matter when it comes to stuffed zucchini. Look for small-to-medium squash (save the gargantuan ones for zucchini bread) because the water content is lower, reducing the probability of a mushy, watery outcome.
  • Green onions work, too. If you can’t find garlic chives, you can substitute 1 cup of thinly sliced green onions. Add the whites of the onions when you add the ginger to remove some of their allium-y rawness, and then add the greens off the heat when instructed to add the garlic chives.

Garlic Chive Pork Zucchini Boats Recipe

These stuffed zucchini boats are inspired by two dim sum staples: garlic chive pork dumplings and stuffed eggplant.

Prep time 30 minutes to 40 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the zucchini boats:

  • 4 ounces

    garlic chives

  • 1 (1-inch) piece

    ginger

  • 2 pounds

    small or medium zucchini (4 to 6)

  • 1 tablespoon

    white sesame seeds

  • 1 tablespoon

    black sesame seeds

  • 3 tablespoons

    canola oil, divided

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1 large bunch

    fresh cilantro

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 1 pound

    ground pork

  • 2 tablespoons

    plus 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons

    oyster sauce

  • 1 tablespoon

    plus 1 1/2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    ground white pepper

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons

    store-bought or homemade chili crisp

  • 1 tablespoon

    soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon

    Chinese black vinegar

  • Pinch granulated sugar (optional)

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 425ºF.

  2. Finely chop 4 ounces garlic chives (about 1 1/2 cups) and transfer to a large bowl. Peel and mince 1 (1-inch) piece ginger until you have 1 tablespoon.

  3. Cut 2 pounds zucchini in half lengthwise, no need to trim the ends. Using a small spoon or melon baller, carefully scoop out the flesh of the zucchini, leaving a 1/4-inch thick shell to form zucchini boats. Place cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Coarsely chop the flesh (about 2 cups).

  4. Place 1 tablespoon white sesame and 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the white sesame seeds are golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.

  5. Add 2 tablespoons of the canola oil to the same skillet and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the zucchini flesh, spread into an even layer, and cook undisturbed until it begins to turn light golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add the ginger and 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the zucchini has softened and the ginger is fragrant, about 2 minutes.

  6. Turn off the heat, add the garlic chives, and stir to combine. Transfer to the bowl the chives were in and let cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, drizzle the zucchini boats with the remaining 1 tablespoon canola oil and rub it onto the skin with your hands. Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Flip the boats so they are cut-side up. Coarsely chop the leaves and tender stems from 1 large bunch fresh cilantro until you have 1/2 cup. Finely grate or mince 2 garlic cloves.

  7. Add the cilantro, garlic, 1 pound ground pork, 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine, and 3/4 teaspoon ground white pepper to the zucchini mixture. Using your hands or a spoon, mix everything together until fully combined.

  8. Divide the garlic chive pork mixture evenly between the zucchini boats. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and gently press on them so they adhere to the filling.

  9. Roast until the filling is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, and the zucchini shells are crisp-tender, 18 to 22 minutes. Meanwhile, make the sauce: Place 2 tablespoons chili crisp, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar, and a pinch of granulated sugar if desired in a small bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

  10. Let the zucchini boats cool for 5 minutes before serving with the sauce.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The filling can be made up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container; refrigerate the zucchini boats in a separate container. Oil and salt the zucchini boats right before filling and baking. The boats may need additional baking time.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.