Monday, May 17, 2010

Pork with Pickled Cabbage Noodle Soup

I've always found noodle soup to be very comforting food. I could actually have it pretty much every day, particularly during the colder months of the year. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the hubby. He's actually not a noodle fan at all, particularly not noodle in soup. He'll have the odd bowl of Vietnamese beef noodle soup, but that's really it. So much to my chagrin, I can't say that I'll be blogging a whole lot about noodles and/or noodles in soup. I can only hope that the little one who is on his way to the world right now, may have more similar tastes in food, since he is feeding directly from me right now.

When I saw the Tan Tan Men recipe on Noodle Fever's website, I thought it would be a great recipe to adapt to one of my favorite lunch items to order, pork with pickled cabbage noodle soup. Plus, I was able to add a bit of spice to it, which is usually absent in the one that I order at lunchtime, but feel free to leave out the chili powder and bird's eye chilies.

adapted from Noodle Fever's Tan Tan Men Recipe

Pork Broth

2 lbs. Meaty Pork Bones
Water to cover
3 slices of Ginger
1 tbsp. Black Peppercorns
2 Star Anises
¼ cup Chinese Rice Wine (Michiu)
Salt to taste
1 package of Oriental Flour Noodles (thin or thick - whatever you prefer)
Baby Bok Choy

Pork Topping

1 lbs. Lean Ground Pork
1 tbsp. Ginger (minced)
2 Bird's Eye Chilies (finely sliced)
2 cloves of Garlic (minced)
2 tbsp. Chili Bean Paste
1 tbsp Chinese Sesame Paste
400 Grams Pickled Cabbage (rinse, squeezing out moisture or they will be too salty)
1 tsp. Chili Powder (optional)
2 Bird's Eye Chilies (finely sliced - optional)
1 tsp. Corn Starch
2 tbsp. Soy Sauce
2 tbsp. Sesame Oil
3 tsp. Sugar
2 tsp. Black Pepper
1 tbsp Oil


Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add pork bones and cook until they are no longer bloody. As soon as there is no more redness, drain into a strainer and rinse pork bones with water.

Return pork bones to pot and fill pot with water until bones are covered. Add ginger, peppercorns and star anises and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, add the rice wine. Lower heat and simmer for at least an hour (preferably at least a couple of hours).

Add salt, tasting to ensure it is flavourful enough.

Marinate lean ground pork with corn starch, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and black pepper.

In another bowl, mix sauce ingredients together: chili bean paste, sesame paste and chili powder. If it seems a little gloppy, add a little water and/or sesame oil (the sesame paste can be very glutinous).

Heat up wok and add oil. Add ginger and garlic until fragrant.

Add lean ground pork, breaking up any large pieces with a wok spatula.

When the pork is mostly cooked, add bird's eye chilies and the sauce mixture. Stir until everything is combined well..

Add the pickled cabbage continuing to stir until pork is cooked through. Taste and adjust as needed (may need sugar depending on the saltiness of the pickled cabbage). Turn heat to low and cover to keep warm.

In another pot, boil water. Cook noodles according to the instructions of the packaging. If your pot is large enough, add baby bok choy. If pot is not large enough, you will have to boil them separately. Strain both.

To serve, place noodles and baby bok choy in a bowl, add the topping, then add broth.

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