Stir-fried dishes get all the glory for being quick to prepare. If you’re working with tofu or chicken or just doing a quick vegetable side, it lives up to the hype. But bring noodles into the equation, as you would for chow mein, and your quick fix dinner goes out the window — if you’re relying on dried noodles. The good news is, you can make this pork chow mein in about half an hour, with one simple change.
Buy the cooked noodles. The first time I made this chow mein, I used the dried “chow mein udon” I’ve bought for years. They worked well enough, but it took time for the pot to boil and the noodles had to be rinsed (which I didn’t) so they turned into a sticky knot. In this case, taking the shortcut and buying the fresh, already cooked noodles was the answer.
The sheer number of noodle options in your Asian market can be overwhelming, if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Let your eyes guide you.
In the refrigerated section, there may be Japanese noodles, Korean noodles, Chinese noodles. Ignore the labels. Check to see if there’s any additional cooking or rinsing required. The packages might say “Stir Fry Noodles,” or “Chow Mein Noodles” or “Yakisoba Noodles.” The suggested recipes on the front are suspiciously similar. It doesn’t matter. Choose the width you prefer for chow mein. Do you like them to be white or yellow? I say yellow. For me, those are yakisoba noodles. They could even be fatter, but based on what Uwajimaya carries, these are my chow mein noodles. Whatever you do, please don’t cop out and substitute spaghetti or angel hair pasta. The result won’t be the same. It’s on you.
Chinese-American Food: Pork Chow MeinPrint Recipe
- ½ lb. boneless, thin-cut pork loin chops, sliced into ¼ inch x ¼ inch pieces (cut into slices, then sliced vertically)
- 3 T. soy sauce, divided
- 1 T. mirin
- 1 t. cornstarch
- 2 T. canola or vegetable oil, divided
- 1 lb. refrigerated stir fry or yakisoba noodles
- 2 small Shanghai bok choy
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 2.5 inch long matchsticks (or batonnet)
- 1 green onion, sliced thinly on the bias
- ¼ c. water
- 2-3 c. nappa cabbage, halved, cored and sliced into ¼ inch ribbons
- 2 handfuls of bean sprouts
Combine the pork, soy sauce and mirin in a small bowl and let marinate while prepping the vegetables.
Cut the bottoms off of the bok choy, then cut the stalks and leaves into 1 inch sections.
Cut the carrot into 2.5 inch long matchsticks.
Heat 1 T. canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Stir fry the pork until browned about 3-4 minutes. Set aside.
Add the remaining canola oil to the pan and lightly fry the noodles for 2-3 minutes, turning to evenly fry them. If the noodles are sticking together in the middle, pour a tablespoon or two of water directly into the area glomming together and use chopsticks to gently separate the noodles while shaking the pan. Drizzle with a little soy sauce.
Push the noodles to one side of the pan and add the carrots, stir frying for 1-2 minutes. Add the pork back to the pan, then add the cabbage, bok choy, bean sprouts and half the green onion. Drizzle with soy sauce and stirfry, tossing frequently, until the cabbage and bok choy wilts. The pan will be very full. Serve on a large platter and garnish with remaining green onion.