For my last birthday, we took a weekend trip to New Orleans. New Orleans is a fantastic weekend destination and a food and drink lover’s dream – but that’s another post. We decided we would wing most of our dining there and see where the jazz took us, but one thing was for certain – I wanted to eat at Pêche, and it did not disappoint. Aside from the best tartare I’ve ever had, I could not resist ordering the Ground Shrimp Noodles. They were saucy, spicy, savory and completely unique – and that brings us to today’s recipe.
Spring may be just around the corner, but here in Chicago we’re still getting snow and some really chilly nights. Recently we were craving something warming, comforting and exotic and then I remembered those noodles! I didn’t have shrimp on hand, but I did have pork, which was an easy swap. I know the ingredient list may look intimidatingly long, but don’t let that put you off! The pickled chillies can be skipped, or quick pickled in a pinch while you get the rest of the noodles going.
PS – If you’re a fan of cooking with spice or Asian food at all, the chili bean sauce (Toban Djan) is a pantry essential. It’s savory, spicy, seriously garlicky and adds great depth of flavor to anything you make. Seek it out, Sriracha’s got nothing on it!
Pork Udon Noodle Bowl
Noodle Bowl Ingredients:
- 2 packages pre-cooked udon noodles
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 1 baby bok choy, washed and sliced thinly
- 8 oz coconut milk
- 1 tbsp red curry paste
- fish sauce (to taste)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp chili bean sauce
- shallot, finely minced
- ginger, peeled and grated – 1 tsp sugar
Hot Pepper Pickle Ingredients:
- 6 red chillies, sliced thinly
- 2 oz distilled white vinegar – Peel of one lime
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tsp mustard seed
- 3 slices ginger
- 1 bayleaf
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
Heat a wok or large straight sides skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a tablespoon of coconut oil and fry the shallot and ginger for one minute. Stir in the curry and tomato paste and fry mixture until fragrant. Add ground pork to the wok, breaking it up as you stir. Once pork has browned and rendered its fat, add coconut milk, sugar and fish sauce to taste, simmering until slightly thickened. While the meat sauce simmers, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil and add udon, cooking for two minutes.
Add the udon to the meat sauce along with the baby bok choy. Toss to wilt and combine and serve with pickled chillies and cilantro, if desired.