Chinese Noodles with Pork & Peanut Sauce

“Oww!!! Stop it!” S yelled.

“Give it back then,” C said.

“It’s mine!” S retorted.

“Aaaaargh! Give it now!” C screamed.

Sigh. I had lost count of the number of times I had heard this type of dialogue all day. All I wanted was to sit in a quiet room with a glass of Chardonnay and a big bowl of carbs. Carbs are so comforting. And really, any carb would do—pasta, mashed potatoes, a crusty French baguette. But with Chinese New Year just a few days away, I decided that noodles, which represent longevity, would be perfect. I love noodles! But I needed it to be easy and quick, because I wasn’t sure both kids would make it in one piece to dinner.

Williams-Sonoma has a simple and delicious Chinese noodle recipe that requires just a few staple ingredients. You brown some ground pork, add some green onions, garlic and ginger, followed by 2 TB of peanut butter, and then a mixture of chicken broth, hoisin sauce and soy sauce. The sauce thickens as it simmers and after it has reached the right consistency, you toss it with some cooked egg noodles (you could easily substitute spaghetti noodles). Dinner is done! I had set aside some beautiful baby bok choy to go with the noodles, but the battle between S and C had made its way into the kitchen and two little bodies were flying around me. There was no time to cook a separate vegetable. So, I reached for a bag of frozen peas and dumped half of it into the pot of boiling water which was cooking the noodles. I drained all of it in a colander and voila, it was a one-dish meal!

The recipe calls for some chili oil, but I just top my own heaping of noodles with it.

The craziness continued through dinnertime, between the kids taking bites of noodles. But I ignored the insanity and soothed myself with two servings of warm pasta and my long-awaited glass of wine. It was almost like being in a soundproof room.

There was plenty for S’s lunch the next day.

Chinese Noodles with Pork & Spicy Peanut Sauce (Williams-Sonoma)

Ingredients

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1/ 4 cup hoisin sauce

2 TB soy sauce

1 TB peanut or canola oil

3/4 lb. ground pork

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1 cup minced green (spring onions), white and tender green parts

1 TB minced garlic

1 TB peeled and grated fresh ginger

2 TB creamy peanut butter

1 lb. thin fresh Chinese egg noodles

1 tsp hot chile oil

Make the sauce

1. In a small bowl, stir together the broth, hoisin sauce, and soy sauce; set aside. Place a 12-inch frying pan over medium heat and add the peanut oil. When the oil appears to shimmer, add the ground pork and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is crumbly and the color changes from pink to gray. Add 1/2 cup of the green onions, the garlic, and ginger to the pan and mix well with the pork. Add the broth mixture and peanut butter, stir well, and cook until small bubbles form on the surface. Cook until the peanut butter smelted and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat.

Cook and drain the noodles

2. Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a rolling boil. Add the noodles all at once, stir gently, and cook until the noodles are tender, but still slightly chewy, about 2 -3  minutes. While the noodles are cooking, reheat the sauce in the pan over medium-low heat. Pour the noodles into a colander to drain, then shake the colander to remove excess water. Don’t let the strands get too dry, or they will stick together.

Toss the noodles with the sauce

3. Add the drained noodles to the pan with the sauce. Using 2 wooden spoons or spatulas, toss the noodles until they are evenly coated with the sauce and the pork is evenly distributed. Add the remaining 1/2 cup green onions and the chile oil and toss to distribute evenly. Serve right away.

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