Tao’s first dish: Hoisin pork over noodles

Close-up of the hoisin pork on noodles dish

“Mom? Can you tell me how to make ground pork with noodles?” I asked, living away from home for the very first time back in 2000, and feeling like some food from home. I needed step-by-step instructions to cook anything beyond eggs, noodles or rice at the time. I already had the ingredients, because of a prior phone call I had made while I was at the grocery store, which are:

1 lb ground pork
noodles, dry or fresh
Hoisin sauce (海鲜酱)
1 yellow or white onion, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, smashed
cilantro, coarsely chopped

The first step was to marinade the pork. This is a variation on the the standard chinese marinade, since the hoisin sauce added later has salt and sugar already in it.

Add*:
2 tbs light soy sauce
3 tbs chinese cooking wine
1 tbs oil (vegetable?)
to the ground meat and mix well. Then add
2-3 tsp cornstarch and mix well again.
some finely chopped ginger (optional)
*Esimated amounts

While that’s marinading, start a pot of water to boil on high heat. Next put a few tsp of oil in a pan on med/high heat and cook the garlic and chopped onions with a dash of salt for a few minutes, until fragrant and the onions have begun to take on a translucent hue. Add a couple shakes of red pepper flakes (the same one’s used for pizza – they’re spicier when cooked!) for some spice. Add the chopped zucchini and cook for about five more minutes, or until tender. Then save the cooked garlic onion zucchini in a bowl. Now it’s time to cook the meat.

Using the same pan, add a few tsp of oil on high/med-high heat and add the marinated meat. Break it down with a spatula or spoon as it cooks to make small juicy chunks. This can take 5-10 minutes. Now is a good time to put noodles in the water, which should be boiling by now. Cook the meat until there is very little to no pink inside the biggest chunk visible before adding back the garlic onion zucchini to the pan. After a few minutes of mixing the vegies with the meat, turn the heat down to medium and add the final ingredient: hoisin sauce. How much you ask? As much as you like. I usually start out with 3-4 tbs of hoisin sauce, mix, taste and repeat a few times until it’s sweet enough for my taste that day. After you turn off the heat, throw in the cilantro, mix and place into a serving dish.

Strain the noodles while rinsing with water to cool them down, which stops them from overcooking and sticking together and serve topped with hoisin pork.

Hoisin sauce, dry noodles behind a bowl of the completed hoisin pork on noodle dish

Ta da! Yum.

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