Some of you may be familiar with a Cantonese dish called yuk bang, which roughly translates into "pork pie." It's pretty much the Chinese version of meat loaf. But while meat loaf can be found on menus in both Southern and hipster diners, yuk bang is hardly ever served outside home. To call it rustic would be an overly generous. You mix ground pork with pickled mustard plant, splash on a bit of soy sauce, then press your ball of pork into a metal plate and steam it. As simple and unphotogenic as pork pie is, it tastes amazing mixed with white rice.
In the absence of pickled mustard plant, and for leftovers that I wouldn't feel weird bringing to work, I turn to these minced pork and shiitake noodles.
If you have ever been to Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China, or Japan, you may be familiar with a dish of minced pork ladled over a bowl of boiled noodles. It's pure comfort food whenever you're exhausted and need nourishment, stat. Like, when traveling on foot in a subtropical Asian city, or even after staring at a computer screen all morning.
The simplest preparation involves just minced pork, onions or shallots, scallions, all simmered in sake or Chinese rice wine. I throw in finely chopped shiitake mushrooms for extra flavor (lately, using these ugly shiitakes.) You can really use any kind of noodles, but I prefer soba for their ability to not become saturated by sauces.
I brought these to work 3 days in a row. I felt like I was back slurping noodles at a hawker stand, except in a climate-controlled break room and not perspiring like a maniac.
And if you're still dying for a pork pie recipe, let me know.
Minced Pork and Shiitake Noodles
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 8 to 10 shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and finely chopped
- 3 to 4 medium shallots, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons sake
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 stalks scallions, chopped
- Prepare your noodles according to package instructions.
- While your noodles are cooking, heat the vegetable oil in a wok or large sauté pan over high heat. Cook the ground pork, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pork and set aside.
- Add the shittakes and shallots and cook until they begin to turn golden brown, about 5 minutes. Return the pork to the pan. Add the sake, wait a minute while the alcohol loosens the nice pork drippings on the pan, then add the soy sauce. Let everything simmer for another minute, then remove from the pan.
- Serve pork and mushrooms over drained noodles, and garnish with scallions.