I was confused. The ingredient list was short and concise, and yet I was detecting all these other flavors that I couldn't place. It wasn't spicy or sweet—the taste was more complex and haunting, almost like a smoky aroma. It was addicting to say the least, but where did it come from?
I realize the secret to this recipe from the food blog Appetite for China is high heat. Each ingredient is cooked over extreme heat, lending it a crisp texture, and then cooked briefly with sake and soy sauce.
Make sure to have a fan going, and keep an eye on your smoke detector. Oddly, this doesn't taste like some fanciful dish—it's more like comfort food. You can use just about any kind of Asian noodle you'd like. I had some soba lying around but ramen would work too.
- 2 tablespoons Canola oil
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 10 shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps finely chopped
- 3 medium shallots, diced
- 3 tablespoons sake
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 stalks scallions, ends trimmed, and chopped
- 2 packages of soba
Pour the oil into a large wok or skillet set over high heat. When hot, add the pork. Stir well, and cook until there is no more pink, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pork with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add the mushrooms and shallots. Stir well, and cook them until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Turn down heat if they look like they will burn.
Add the pork back to the wok. Pour in the sake, and dislodge any browned bits on the bottom with a wooden spoon. When the sake has evaporated add the soy sauce. Cook for 1 minute, then turn off the heat.
Meanwhile, cook the soba noodles according to the directions on the pack. Drain, but do not rinse.
Serve the pork mixture atop the noodles. Garnish with scallions.