Monday, April 19, 2010

Sensational stir fry, sans hassle

By Helen Klein

While I love Asian-style food, I don’t make it at home as often as I probably should, preferring, instead, to rely on the tender ministrations of my local Chinese take-out joint.

I really have no excuse. I have more than one wok, and a panoply of Asian ingredients, including several varieties of noodles and a lineup of sauces.

So, when my husband suggested recently that I stir-fry some shredded pork and vegetables with noodles, I got out my santoku (probably my favorite knife for a whole range of cooking tasks) and started slicing and dicing.

The result was more than satisfactory — a one-dish dinner that came together relatively quickly and satisfied the palate, thanks to a compelling combination of sweet and savory.

While I am a fan of cellophane noodles, I chose more substantial soba noodles for this dish ­­­— better for standing up to the thick, somewhat sweet sauce, which played off the pork’s own sweetness, as well as the sweetness of the carrots and the sautéed onions, whose sugars caramelize with the application of high heat.

Serves 4-6

1/2 to 3/4 lbs. boneless pork chops, cut into two-inch strips
2 tbl. soy sauce
2 tbl. plus 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1-1/2 tbl. lime juice
2 tbl. sake
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2-inch chunk of ginger, chopped
1/4 cup peanut oil
1 onion, diced
1/3 lb. carrots, shredded
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. sesame seeds
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1/2 lb. soba noodles

Marinate pork strips in soy sauce, two tablespoons hoisin sauce, lime juice, sake, garlic and ginger for at least one hour.

Cook soba noodles according to package directions; drain and rinse, then set aside.

When ready to cook, heat peanut oil in wok. When oil is very hot, add pork, reserving marinade, and cook over medium-high heat, tossing frequently, till meat is lightly browned. Add onion and continue cooking another two to three minutes till it has started to turn golden and become translucent.

Add carrot shreds and continue to cook, another three to five minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning.

When carrot has started to soften, add reserved marinade and additional hoisin sauce, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, till liquid is reduced by half. Add drained noodles and toss, to coat thoroughly, continuing to cook until they are heated through.

Add salt and pepper to taste, sesame oil, sesame seeds and cilantro to finish. Toss and serve.


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