intensely trivial

Seriously addictive noodles

I get this weekly email from American Public Radio called “Weeknight Kitchen,” by Lynne Rossetto Kasper. Every week there’s a recipe that’s not too fussy and often pushes the boundaries of average American eating. Last week, Lynne shared a recipe for “Sichuan Pork Noodles.” I had a package of homegrown ground pork in the freezer that needed to be used, and a surplus of dried spaghetti. She said it’s the kind of food you like so much that you stand in the fridge door, eating it out of the container at midnight. So Sichuan Pork Noodles went on the menu for this week.
I really think you should try this at home! It’s easy and so, so good (Lynne was right about it being the food you crave). If you’ve hesitated to make “international” food before, this would be a great, low-risk, low-skill entree into creating international flavors in your kitchen. Think spaghetti and meat sauce, but with adventurous Asian flavor. I wish I had a photo of the finished dish to show you, but I was too busy wolfing it down.
Most of the ingredients are basic ones you probably have on hand already, like soy sauce, peanut butter, and spaghetti.
A few possibly new-to-you ingredients:
Rice vinegar — You can find this at most grocery stores. If you substituted another kind of vinegar for the rice vinegar, it would be OK. I think rice vinegar is slightly milder.
Asian chili-garlic sauce — This is the kind I used. Seriously, just smelling it after I took the lid off made me happy. Why didn’t I have some of this before??? YUM! (BTW, I bought mine at Dillons, though I’m sure the international food store would have it.)
Oyster sauce — Although this has oyster extract in it, it doesn’t taste fishy to me. I would not like that. (Again, bought mine at Dillons, but the int’l store would have it, too.)
Fresh ginger — This is what gingerroot looks like. You buy it at the grocery store in the produce section. It’s inexpensive, and it packs a big punch, flavor- and health-wise. I store it in a ziplock bag in my freezer and either hack off a chunk to mince, or just grate it as is. You can also slice off slivers and make tea with it to help with nausea (pregnant women, this is for you!)
Fresh cilantro — Cilantro is tricky, because you need to use it up pretty fast. Mexican and Indian food can use up a lot at a time. I have read about freezing it between layers of paper towels, too, but I’ve never tried that. When you need the fresh sharpness of cilantro, there is no substitute. It just serves as a tasty topping in this recipe, but I think it’s indispensable to the flavor. (Find it next to parsley in the produce section of the grocery store.)
So! Here’s the recipe, thanks to Weeknight Kitchen:

Reprinted with permission from The Best Simple Recipes: More Than 200 Flavorful, Foolproof Recipes That Cook in 30 Minutes or Less (America’s Test Kitchen, March 2010). Copyright © 2010 by the Editors at America’s Test Kitchen.
Serves 4
• 1 pound ground pork (I think ground beef would also be good)
• 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
• 3 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon Asian chili-garlic sauce (see note at end of recipe)
• 1-1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (I used vegetarian “chicken” broth)
• 1/3 cup peanut butter
• 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
• Salt
• 1 pound fresh Chinese noodles or linguine (I used spaghetti)
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Meanwhile, combine pork, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and chili-garlic sauce in bowl. In another bowl, whisk broth, peanut butter, oyster sauce, remaining vinegar, and remaining soy sauce.
2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add pork mixture and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth mixture and simmer until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon salt and noodles to boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, drain noodles, and return to pot. Add sauce and toss to combine, adding reserved pasta water as needed. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. * Gail says:

    Ummm…looks great. I’ll be trying this soon!

    Posted 8 years, 2 months ago
  2. * Jessica S says:

    We’re making them right now! Hurray!

    Posted 8 years, 2 months ago
  3. * Terri says:

    Mmmmmmmmmmm….this sounds great! I’ll have to try it soon.

    Posted 8 years, 2 months ago

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