I am so obsessed with noodles, you guys. I always have been; my known weak spots are generally fried dough (donuts, elephant ears, churros, etc.), assorted other fried foods (clam strips, sausage-stuffed olives, duck fat fries, etc.), flat breads, and noodles. Mmmm, carbs and fat. Also garlicky kale, thank god.
A couple weeks ago I met my cousin Sara for lunch at Blue Ginger, out in Wellesley, where chef Ming Tsai has recently added a Noodle Bar to the lunch menu. I ordered the yakisoba (“Ramen Noodles and Garlic-Ginger-Tamari Sauce, served with carrots, bell peppers, onions, cabbage and scallions”), subbing in pork for chicken, and received a heavenly (spicy) bowl of chewy noodles and ridiculously flavorful minced or ground pork. I ate all the noodles and as much pork as I could shovel up with my chopsticks, but I had plenty leftover to mix with a package of ramen at home for dinner that night. (I left out the “flavor”/MSG packet and let the sauce on the pork do the work.) When Ben returned home from the trip that was allowing me to eat noodles multiple times a day without anyone knowing (until now), I decided I’d try to recreate the dish at home.
And by recreate, I mean I made noodles with pork. Flavors and vegetable content ended up being totally different. Perhaps because it was only now that I looked up the menu online and saw tamari listed as a key ingredient in the sauce. This will be an ongoing quest, unless Chef Ming decides he wants to share his recipe. I did meet him briefly at the restaurant, where he was styling food for a photo shoot, but I failed to beg for the recipe. He was super nice, though.
I patched together a sauce with pretty much everything in the fridge, plus a crazily hot black bean/chili sauce I grabbed at Whole Foods. I kept adding splashes of this and that, so I have no proportions or measurements, but I used hoisin (fatal mistake), soy, rice wine vinegar, the black bean/chili stuff, sesame oil, and maybe some of the chili-garlic sauce I keep around. Eh.
I chopped up spring onions and napa cabbage, minced garlic and grated ginger.
Then I cooked about a pound of ground pork in the wok, with half of the garlic and ginger. At the end I poured in some of the sauce and cooked it off to coat the pork.
Set that aside, then stir-fried the onions with the rest of the garlic/ginger.
And then the cabbage.
Once the cabbage was wilting, I added in the rest of the sauce and got it simmering.
And then the unruly mass of the cooked noodles entered the scene.
OMG. I really need to get a source for the delicious square chinese noodles my mom always used. The ramen were SO hard to deal with, all curly and tangled together. I adjusted the flavoring with more soy at that point, because the hoisin had made everything too sweet.
The final result was tasty, but it didn’t hold a candle to the Blue Ginger dish. I will track down the right noodles and some tamari and give it another go when we’re back from Europe.
Does anyone have a noodle dish they swear by? I have a good-looking recipe from my mom to try out, but I welcome all suggestions.