Sunday, November 22, 2015

Noodles with Pork and Preserved Vegetables-- and More....

A family that cooks together, stays together... This weekend was yet another cook and feast at my parents place with my dear siblings' families. I am always enthralled at how much we all love to cook and excited to share our favourites. The gathering relishes such a "yeet lau" (Cantonese saying for hot festivity) feeling, it's like a special occasion every time! Hearing out the eclectic menu from my brother and sister, I felt a noodle dish of some sort was missing. Shanghai-style noodles came to mind, but I wanted to try it with Italian bucatini pasta, as they are not oily like thick egg noodles used in this dish, and I also like the fact that it has a little hole in the centre that sucks in air like a straw-- just different, cute and novel. I love using Szechuan preserved vegetable (zha chai) to boost the flavour of noodles-- it's a firm, crisp, salted- and chili- fermented bulbous stem of a mustard tuber that packs a salty flavour punch. And then it all came together, scanning what I had in the fridge and what I needed to pick up at the store-- pork, preserved vegetables, cabbage, carrots and black mushroom fungus. I made double the recipe batch because I was feeding an army... :) At the end, we had a whole lot going on, on the dinner table-- Chinese, Japanese, Korean and even raw oysters!

Big-Batch Noodles with Pork and Preserved Vegetables
Makes 16 servings (Half the recipe for half the servings)

1 lb. pork loin chops, sliced
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. oil, divided
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. water
2 packages (500 g) bucatini pasta, prepared according to package instructions
2 carrots, skinned and peeled with a peeler
1/3 cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup preserved vegetable, thinly sliced (found in cans- whole or sliced in Asian supermarket)
2 cups sliced black mushroom fungus (optional)
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 green onions, sliced on a diagonal
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. Pearl River Bridge Mushroom Flavored Superior Dark Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. chili oil (optional) or serve this as a table condiment

*TIP: Cook recipe in two batches if making a big-batch like I did unless you have a really really big wok :)

Season pork with soy and salt. Add 1 Tbsp. oil, cornstarch and water; mix well and let marinate for 1/2 hour.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in skillet/wok on medium-high heat; add carrots and cabbage. Stir-fry for one minute, then add preserved vegetables and mushrooms. Cook for two minutes, until vegetables are soft. Set aside. Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in the same wok, add pork and garlic; stir-fry until pork is no longer pink. Add noodles and sauce to pork; toss until noodles are coated with sauce. Return vegetables and mix well. Adjust seasoning as required.

Just lovely!

Family members gathered around the table for great conversations, great wine and some good ol' Ng family tradition dumpling wrapping, while mom manned the pan cooking them up over the stove.

My sis-in-law Yoko prepares cooked lotus in a salad, thinly sliced with persimmon.

My sister Trai prepares her famous pan-fried tofu with Korean soy garlic dressing.

And an unlikely candidate in the Asian menu-dominant night, but certainly a highlight-- raw malpeque oysters for DIY shucking. I couldn't resist at $14 for 33 count.

Succulent and fresh! And oh so-O good!

Voila! Dinner is served-- Noodles with Pork and Preserved Vegetables, Korean Pan-Fried Tofu with Soy Garlic Dressing, Edamame Pods with Salt, Pan-fried Dumplings, Japanese Sliced Lotus and Persimmon Vinaigrette Salad, Korean Seasoned Mung Sprouts, Japanese Chestnut Steamed Rice, Bulgogi-Glazed Turkey Wings and Malpeques!

Chestnut Steamed Rice

Sliced Lotus and Persimmon Vinaigrette Salad

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