Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Garlicky pork noodles with pea shoots

Since I used up all the produce that had been festering in my crisper, of course I had to make another run to Fubonn for some Chinese vegetables. This week, I found some beautiful, verdant pea shoots (dou miao) and some other things that will surface as the week progresses. The pea shoots include the leaves (and the leafy stipules), the tendrils, and the stems. The leaves wilt down like any leafy green vegetable, but the stems and tendrils stay toothsome, a bit like celery. I think if they had been cooked within a day or two of being picked, they would've been more succulent.

Even though this dish does have pork, it is very lean, very thinly-sliced, center-cut loin. Can you believe they had whole loins for $15 instead of $40? Normally I don't bargain-shop meat, but I couldn't pass this up. My buddy Norm at Eat or Die grew up on a farm in Small Town, USA, and can't figure out how a farmer can stay in business with those prices (government subsidies, that's how). I shrugged off the guilt and butchered it into 20 really nice chops. The two ends went into tonight's dinner.


After all the red meat, I wanted something fresh, garlicky and spicy, and crunchy, but noodly. So I made a quick marinade with splashes of good, dark soy sauce (laochou; a nice thick soy sauce), rice wine and white wine vinegar, and a glug of dark sesame oil; a couple heaping spoonfuls of sambal oelek, oyster sauce and hoisin sauce; 4 or 5 large cloves of garlic, smashed and minced; 2 heaping spoonfuls of grated ginger; a dash of my homemade seven-spice and 5 or 6 cracks of black pepper; a spoonful of sugar and corn starch, and a fat pinch of MSG. Yes, I keep a sack of MSG in my kitchen. It's 100% pure umami!

Marinate the pork for at least 15 minutes (I was really hungry). Blanch the pea shoots to soften them up a bit. Stir fry the pork with a little sliced onion and cloud ear fungus until sticky (like 5 minutes), then add the sauce and pea shoots and toss to coat. Toss with cooked noodles of your choosing (I used fettucine, because it's what I had) and sliced scallion. This would also be delicious as a vegetarian dish with tofu and shitakes. I included the cloud ear fungus for crunch, and because I keep a jar of them in my kitchen. Soak them in the cooking pasta water to soften.

I have more ideas for the other half of the pea shoots, so stay tuned!

31 comments:

Peter G said...

This style of cooking is right up my alley senorita! Love the Thai/viet/South East Asia combo going on here! BUT one thing disturbs me...the MSG!...I'll have mine without thanks.

Chuck said...

The pork noodles look awesome! I love pea shoots too.

kittie said...

Great dish Heather! Never tried pea shoots, oh I'm lying - I had baby pea shoots a few months ago... but I don't know where I would even get mature ones without planting them myself!

Hmmm... edible jelly fungus?? I do this I would struggle to eat something called ear fungus. Sounds like something Shrek would eat!

Foodycat said...

How delicious! And a very good idea for what to do with the shoots from the sugar snaps I am growing this summer. Assuming the slugs leave me any.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Great nosh. I WANT SOME.

glamah16 said...

Thats a noodle dish. Great pic. As youi knw we love us some noodles . My man would be all over that dish.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

What cute little pea shoots! Love them! Those noodles look picture perfect, Heather and nice deal on the pork!

maybelles parents said...

I adore pea shoots. I just made pea shoot kimchi and pea shoot pasta though I haven't posted them yet.

Bellini Valli said...

I will have to see what the farmers market has to offer this weekend. I would love to find some tender pea tentrils:D

michelle @ TNS said...

i have a girl crush on pea shoots. also on hoisin.

Heather said...

Petah - Don't be afraid! MSG is just a concentrated form of glutamic acid, a natural source of umami found in mushrooms, tomatoes and onions. It's not bad for you unless you have a sensitivity (and Vitamin B6 blocks the bad effects).

Chuck - Thanks! Aren't pea shoots great?

Kittie - It's not gelatinous at all, I think it's just taxonomically part of that group of fungi. :P I have seen some jellies that look like they should be spread onto a crumpet, but I sure as hell never would!

Foodycat - My trick with slugs: pluck them out of the garden and throw them onto my neighbor's roof. I can't bear to cut them in half with scissors. :(

Sketti - Haven't you set up a propane stove on your veranda yet? :)

Court - I get to jonesin' for a huge-ass bowl of noodles every once in awhile. This delivered!

Jenn - I love the little curlicues too. Almost too cute to eat! Almost. The pork would've been a good deal at $40.

Maybelle's Parent - Ramp kimchi and pea shoot kimchi? You're a kimchi superstar! We should do a home-made foodie exchange (I have some quince paste...).

Valli - I would definitely recommend them. If you can get really fresh ones, I bet they'd be magical.

Heather said...

Michelle - Aww, I knew you were soft on your insides. Hoisin sauce is Chinese ketchup - what's not to love?

Catherine Wilkinson said...

yeah, yeah, yeah. The recipe looks good, but I'm just glad to be back to your blog so I can be mirthful.
Thanks for the best wishes, my friend. Things are improved.
Although my mood needs a grapefruit spoon in it's eye.

Judy @ No Fear Entertaining said...

I would never have thought about eating pea shoots. I have sooo much to learn!!! That is a really great dish!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

This sounds delicious. I love the last photo, too!

Peter M said...

Heather, isn't MSG also derived from certain seaweeds?


The ingredients and your doses of them kick serious donkey...a nice Asian melange!

You win a year's supply of Tampex, hope you're well! lol

G Pro said...

This is good. I get them from the farmers market and use them in salads. This will be a refreshing alternative.

We Are Never Full said...

now THIS is a winner! very creative! that pea shoot pic is nice... i need to gets me some of dat black sweet soy. keep meaning to.

Kevin said...

That looks like it is full of flavour!

Lina said...

garlic makes everything perfect. Looks great!

Heather said...

Catherine - I'm so glad to see you back safely! We've all missed you!

Judy - There's a whole new world of eating to be had - ain't life grand?

Jen - The little tendril was saying hello. Then I ate it!

Peter the Greek - You sure you don't have a wife? You sure are into periods! ^o^

G Pro - You bet your sweet ass it will! (Thanks for dropping by!)

Amy - The thick soy sauce is awesome - I can't taste any sweetness, it's just really concentrated. I have a huge jug and just thin as needed.

Kevin - Well, that's because it is! :D

Lina - Truer words have never been spoken (about the garlic, that is)!

Emiline said...

Is MSG that good? Can you taste the difference if you don't use it? I'm curious.
I'd love to try that soy sauce. I've been using tamari lately. I don't know if it's that different than regular soy sauce.
This looks really good.

giz said...

A great dish - the msg would kill me

canarygirl said...

Ooooh! Yummy pea shoots! Your noodles look like pure delicous comfort food. YUM!

peter said...

mmm... toothsome stipules...

It even looks restaurant-shiny. Nice work.

Cynthia said...

Oh what would I not give for a bowl of this...

cook eat FRET said...

the chinese food in nashville sucks so bad that it's not even amusing. there is no viable option. oh wait, pf changs. that at least is edible...

this dish really is beautiful. everything about it sounds just perfect. i'm a pea shoot fan.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Those pea shoots are so pretty! I never find cool stuff like that around here. :(

I never met a noodle bowl I didn't like, so I know I'd love this!

Núria said...

Didn't read the whole post but the vision of that dish makes me wanna have that now!!! Ooooohhhh it's perfection on a plate. Que delicia!
Sorry, Heather, can't cope with all posts... but I still love you :D

Brittany said...

I am officially making this ASAP. Pea shoots are my favorite.
You rule.

Foodycat said...

I had a go at something similar last night. Yours is prettier!