If you haven’t noticed already, I’ve been trying out different Asian dishes, learning as I go trying new flavors and techniques. I recently came across some noodle bowls on Pinterest that resemble a brothy soup with noodles and thin sliced pork and pickled mustard stems. It reminded me of a ramen noodle bowl and it looked so tasty. After reading more about it, I just had to give it a try. I found that Zha Cai is a type of Chinese pickled vegetable that tastes sour, salty and sometimes spicy. For this particular dish pickled mustard stems are most commonly added, but alternately pickled radish can be used. It’s a simple recipe, something I thought would appeal to my youngest son Cameron who has always loved a bowl of ramen noodles. This is an easy and healthy alternative that only takes 20 minutes to make.
Start by slicing lean pork into thin slices. Sprinkle cornstarch and salt over the pork.
Add vegetable oil.
Add Shaoxing wine.
And finally add the oyster sauce. Massage all the ingredients together with the pork.
For the rest of the ingredients you’ll need dry ramen noodles, chicken broth, a package of pickled mustard stems or pickled radish (which I’m using), sugar, sesame oil and sliced green onion for garnish.
Pour the chicken broth into a 2 quart pot and bring to a boil. Once it boils, turn heat down to low to keep warm.
Prepare Ramen noodles according to package instructions. 3.5 – 4 ounces of dry ramen will make 2 bowls.
Heat a wok over high heat, add a drizzle of vegetable oil and fry the pork in batches. Stir fry until they have cooked through and begin to brown around the edges.
Add a package of the Zha Cai pickled mustard stems or pickled radish in my case. Stir fry together for a minute longer.
Add the sugar and stir to combine.
Drain the ramen noodles and divide between 2 bowls.
Add up to 2 cups of warm broth to each bowl of noodles.
Divide the stir fried pork and Zha Cai between the bowls and sprinkle with sliced green onion. Add a few drops of sesame oil to each bowl.
Pork and Zha Cai Ramen Bowl, adapted from The Woks of Life
6 ounces lean Pork (cut into thin strips)
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Cornstarch
1 teaspoon Vegetable Oil
1 teaspoon Shaoxing Wine
1 teaspoon Oyster Sauce
3.5 – 4.0 ounces Dry Ramen Noodles
4 cups Chicken Broth, (I used Better Than Bouillon dissolved in water)
3.5 ounces Zha Cai Mustard Stems of Pickled Radish
1/4 teaspoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Sesame Oil, divided between 2 bowls
1 tablespoon sliced Green Onion
Vegetable Oil, for stir frying
In a small bowl, combine the pork, salt, cornstarch, vegetable oil, Shaoxing wine and oyster sauce. Massage the pork so that all the ingredients are marinated together. Set aside to prepare the rest of the ingredients.
In a 2 quart pot, heat the chicken broth to boiling. Once the broth comes to a boil, turn down the heat to low to keep warm.
Bring a 3 quart pot of water to boil and cook the ramen noodles according to package directions.
Heat a wok over high heat and add a drizzle of vegetable oil. When hot, add the pork in batches to stir fry until they are cooked through and starting to brown. When all the pork has cooked, add the Zha Cai and sugar to the wok and stir until well combined.
When the noodles are cooked, drain and divide between 2 bowls. Ladle warm broth over the noodles and add stir fried pork and Zha Cai over top. Garnish with a drizzle of sesame oil and sliced green onions.
Makes 2 servings