Noodles with Greens and Gravy
Quick and easy to prepare, this savory one-dish meal contains a range of flavors that perfectly complement the noodles, bok choy, and pork. The recipe is brought to us by Jeffrey Alford, author of the Southeast Asian cookbook "Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet."
- 1/2 pound fresh rice noodles or 1/4 pound wide dried rice noodles
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 ounces boneless pork butt or shoulder, thinly sliced across the grain into 1-by-1/2-inch pieces (or substitute lean beef or boneless chicken, similarly sliced)
- 1 scant teaspoon plus a pinch of sugar
- 2 heads baby bok choy, quartered lengthwise and well washed (about 3 cups packed)
- 1 tablespoon fermented soybean paste (dao jiao), mashed until smooth
- 1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice or cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup mild chicken, beef, or pork broth or water
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
- Generous grinding of white or black pepper
- Chile Vinegar Sauce
If using fresh noodles, rinse under warm running water. If using dried rice noodles, soak in warm water for 15 minutes to soften, then drain and set aside.
Heat a large wok over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil, swirling to coat wok. When very hot, toss in the noodles, and stir-fry gently for about 2 minutes, pressing them against the hot pan. Turn out onto a plate.
Wipe out wok, then place back over high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and when hot, toss in garlic. Stir-fry briefly until garlic begins to turn golden, about 20 seconds, then add pork slices and a generous pinch of sugar. Stir-fry until meat has changed color, about 1 minute. Toss in greens, and stir-fry, pressing vegetables against hot sides of wok, until they turn bright green, about 1 1/2 minutes or more (depending on the size of your wok).
Add soybean paste, fish sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, and remaining scant teaspoon sugar; stir-fry to mix. Add broth or water and cornstarch mixture. Stir, and bring to a boil. Cover, and cook until liquid has thickened slightly and greens are tender, about 1 minute.
Use a spatula or a ladle to distribute meat, greens, and gravy over noodles. Grind pepper over generously, and serve hot with chile-vinegar sauce.