Noodles

Pork & Bok Choy Stir Fry

Posted in Noodles, Pork on February 2nd, 2011 by admin – 1 Comment

I’m going to admit I’ve always been a little intimidated by bok choy. I think it’s because I don’t really care for the stalky parts of vegetables. While the adult part of my mind says “get over it and just eat it”, the other adult part of my mind says the advantage of being a grown-up is getting to be picky when you want to be.

I picked baby bok choy for the Pork & Bok Choy Stir Fry since it seemed less intimidating, although I’m still not sure if that was the right choice for leafy-to-stalk ratio.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces soba or rice noodles
  • 3/4-1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil or canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound bok choy (about 1 medium head), trimmed and cut into long, thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chile-garlic sauce

I am trying to make a real effort right now to up the amount of vegetables in my meals and cut back on the noodles and meat. This works well in a stir-fry where you still feel like you’re filling up on good food but the proportions are healthier. I like to buy my pork tenderloins at Uwajimaya because they come in more reasonable (smaller) sizes. Before I discovered them there I never knew what people did with those HUGE things they sell in the regular grocery stores. Even then, I only used half and set the other half aside for the next night’s dinner.

Directions:

  • Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.

It’s nice to cook noodles more “naturally” feeling, in boiling water. I’m still not quite comfortable with the soaking rice noodles for pad thai even though they keep coming out fine in the end.

  • Meanwhile, slice pork into thin rounds; cut each round into matchsticks. Whisk water, rice wine (or sherry), soy sauce and cornstarch in a small bowl.

I really want to know who came up with this idea that food needs be cut into “matchsticks”. Carrots.. meat… it’s as bad as trying to “cube” a non-geometric piece of chicken. Just slice it up and it’ll be fine! I found it easier to cut lengthwise along the “grain” than to cut rounds myself.

  • Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat…

Again I’m confused about why a Dutch oven for this recipe. My favorite stir-fry pan made more sense. Cook veggies, then meat.

  • Whisk the cornstarch mixture again, add it to the pan and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened, 2 to 4 minutes. Serve the pork and vegetables over the noodles.

A major bonus about this recipe, it made great leftovers, maybe even one of those better-the-second-day recipes. I keep finding myself wanting to make it again just for that next-day lunch.

Salmon Pad Thai

Posted in Noodles, Salmon on December 11th, 2010 by admin – 2 Comments

A late night dinner… Pad Thai recipes (I ultimately based mine on this Eating Well recipe) kept mentioning shrimp for some reason. I don’t like shrimp but did have salmon that needed to be used tonight.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces dried rice noodles
  • 2 teaspoons peanut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 8 ounces small shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cups mung bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup sliced scallion greens
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • teaspoon chili-garlic sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dry-roasted peanuts

As you can see I’m not a fan of bean sprouts either. It always seems silly when I see something sold in the store that I always thought the sole purpose was to be picked out of food.

After chopping half a bunch of green onions, which only came out to a quarter cup, it looked like the recipe was going overboard on that part. So I filled in the rest with chopped cilantro.

Directions:
Soak rice noodles in warm water to cover in a large bowl until they are limp and white, about 20 minutes.

This makes me realize I’ve been cooking my (rice) noodles wrong in the past, wanting to boil them like pasta. I had to dig out my largest mixing bowl to be wide enough to hold the stiff noodles.

The noodle package itself said to soak for 30 minutes. There were warnings not to over-soften if they’re going to be stir-fried next, so this was kind of a leap of faith. They still didn’t feel close to “cooked” after 30 minutes.

Heat oil over high heat in a wok until very hot. Add the garlic and stir-fry until golden, about 10 seconds.

The reason peanut oil is used for this kind of thing is it has a higher burning point so you can get to the “very hot” point without it starting to smoke. Cooking at this high of a heat also means that your garlic is going to start browning in the time it takes you to reach for the next ingredient.

Add the egg and cook, stirring, until scrambled, about 30 seconds.

Next I added the salmon I had cut into pieces in place of the shrimp and stir-fried until the salmon was mostly cooked.

Drain the noodles and add to the wok, tossing with tongs until they soften and curl, about 1 minute. Add bean sprouts, scallion greens, vinegar, fish sauce, sugar and chile-garlic sauce

 


The noodles did cook perfectly as intended.

Sprinkle with peanuts and serve immediately.

 

I admit I’ve been intimidated by making pad Thai myself but now I see it’s as easy and versatile as… stir-fry that I’ll actually want to eat.