Chinese cuisine is one of the best at utilizing pork in the most delicious ways. And while it can be very intimidating to cook at home, don’t be deterred – it’s much easier than it seems! One of my favorite dishes to cook at home and an easy one to start with if you’re new to Asian cooking is Ming Tsai’s crazy noodles. Yes, I know the recipe in that link calls for ground chicken, but I promise it’s even tastier if you make it with ground pork! There’s also a similarly delicious, but slightly more complicated Ming Tasi recipe for Sweet and Spicy Pork Noodles that is also worth a try. I’ve learned that a version of this is a very common dish in China, called zha jiang mian and is often referred to as Chinese bolognese! There are endless recipes online for varieties of this dish (this is another favorite of mine), but I find Chef Ming’s recipes are a great place to start.
And as always, I encourage you to try variations to these recipes depending on what you have on hand and what vegetables are in season. I hope that none of these suggestions make any Chinese chefs cringe, but I have had success substituting Sriracha, garlic chili sauce or even Chinese hot chili sauce for the samba. Fermented black beans can be hard to find, so I often add a bit of black bean paste to add the same flavor profile. And I actually prefer Hoison or Oyster Sauce more than fish sauce. White onions work well if you don’t have a red onion or scallions on hand and I often add Bok Choy if I can get some locally. But, I never substitute the lime. It’s the perfect acid to compliment the richness of the pork and noodles covered in a delicious savory sauce and any version of these dishes is not the same without it.
I often enjoy a glass of red wine with my pork crazy noodles in the winter, but a good Asian beer can be a delicious pairing as well. This is a perfect weeknight meal, so a lime soda or a sparkling lemonade are a nice non-alcoholic alternative as well! Enjoy!