Two Deliciously Easy Asian Noodle Dishes

 

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These days when I ask Michael what he wants for dinner he's most likely to say "that Chinese pasta please."  

I'm always happy to oblige. This is just about the easiest meal I make - and if you're the sort of person who finds yourself ordering in from Chinese restaurants, you should become acquainted.  The ingredients are easy to keep on hand, and if you've got some pork in the freezer, you can have dinner on the table long before the delivery man would ring the bell.  Ten minutes at most.

Here's the recipe:

Spicy Pork Chinese Noodles

Cook a half pound of Chinese noodles (in a pinch use dried egg noodles or spaghetti) until al dente, drain, toss with a bit of  peanut oil and set aside.

Mince fresh, peeled ginger until you have a couple of tablespoons (it should be about a 2 inch long piece). 

Chop 2 scallions.

Mix 1 teaspoon of sugar into 2 1/2 tablespoons of Chinese hot bean paste with garlic.  Michael doesn't like food very spicy, so I substitute a tablespoon of plain bean paste for some of the hotter stuff.  Set aside. 

Heat a wok until a drop of water skitters across the surface.  Add a tablespoon of oil, toss in the ginger and stir fry for about half a minute, until the fragrance is hovering over the wok.

Add a half pound of ground pork and stir fry until all traces of pink have disappeared.  Add the bean sauce mixture and a splash of water;  cook and stir for about 2 minutes. 

Stir in the scallions and noodles, and quickly toss.  Add a drop of sesame oil and turn out onto a platter.

Serves 2.

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I've had this strange craving for squid lately, so when I saw some in the market yesterday, I pounced upon it.  At home I made this easy pasta, adapted from Bruce Cost's Big Bowl cookbook. Together, the two noodle dishes made an extremely satisfying meal.  

Noodles with Squid and Black Beans

1/2 pound squid

1/2 pound Chinese noodles

oil

3 tablespoons chicken stock

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

4 tablespoons shredded ginger

4 sliced scallions

1 jalapeno, shredded

2 cloves garlic, smashed

1 1/2 teaspoons fermented soy beans (Chinese salted black beans)

2 tablespoons dry sherry

splash sesame oil

Separate the squid into tentacles and bodies, and cut the bodies into 1 inch rings.  Toss them into a pot of  boiling water for about 30 seconds, then rinse in cold water to stop the cooking, rinse again and set aside.

Cook the Chinese noodles for about 3 minutes.  (Again, if you can't find Chinese noodles, plain spaghetti or egg noodles can step in.)  Drain, refresh with cold water, then toss them with a teaspoon of oil and set aside.

Mix chicken stock, salt, sugar, oyster sauce and light soy. Set aside. 

Heat a wok or heavy saute pan.  Slick with oil. Add the ginger, scallions, chile pepper, garlic and black beans.  Stir until fragrant.  Add the liquid mixture and cook for a minute.  Toss in noodles and toss for another minute or two. Add the squid and the sherry, toss again, splash in the sesame oil and serve. 

Serves 2.

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Thank you so much for the wonderful articles, art and recipes from the Gourmet magazines. I am dying to make your Asian pork and noodles dish. I have been to 3 stores to find Hot Bean Paste with Garlic and can find aspects of each, but not all in one jar. Could I substitute Black Bean Sauce, add garlic and chilis? Are can you give me any advice?!!!! Much appreciated....

Both of these look simple and great. It's too bad more Americans do not use ground pork more. I think I am now using ground pork more than ground beef.

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Where am I eating? What's for dinner tonight? And what books have I been reading? For a look at what's going on in my life lately, take a look at this journal, which I try to update on a regular basis.