Chinese food day three – spicy Shanghai noodles

Yes, today is the third day in a row where I am having Chinese food for dinner. Tonight it is noodles again, big fat fresh Shanghai ones that look a lot like Japanese Udon.

The recipe is spicy Shanghai noodles with pork and it pretty simple stuff. Again, there are loads of variations, so mine is a compromise once more.

Instead of pork, you could use thinly-sliced beef, chicken breast meat or, for a vegetarian version, shitake mushrooms.

First, marinate some lean pork, cut into thin strips in a paste made from potato flour and Shaoxing rice wine for about 30 minutes.

While the meat is marinating, cook the noodles until al dente and then drain them and dress them with sesame oil to stop them sticking. This shouldn’t take more than four or five minutes.

For your vegetables you can use beansprouts, julienne carrots, thinly sliced peppers and shredded Chinese cabbage, either singly or in a combination. I am using beansprouts and carrots. I am not sure how authentic beansprouts are in this, but I like them, so they are going in.

You will also need garlic, ginger and spring onions, the holy trinity of Chinese food, light and dark soy sauce, salt, sugar, hoisin sauce and chilli bean paste.

First, get the wok smoking hot and heat up some groundnut oil until hot.

Fry the chopped garlic, ginger and spring onions for around 30 seconds and add in the julienne carrots and beansprouts. Fry for a minute or so longer and then add the pork strips, saving the marinade for later. Keep everything moving around in the wok.

When the pork is coloured and no longer raw, add in a teaspoon of sugar, some salt, two teaspoons of soy sauce (one each of light and dark) and a teaspoon each of hoisin and chilli bean paste. Stir well and add some water to stop it sticking in the wok, if necessary. To be honest, it will probably need it.

In a couple of minutes the pork will be cooked, so then you add in the noodles and reheat them. Finally, thicken the dish with the reserved marinade and serve.

This is a really rich and “meaty” dish, because the sauce is rich and full of umami flavours. I think it is therefore better served as a dish on its own rather than as part of a meal with many dishes.

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