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Marco Polo Noodles with Stir-Fried Minced Pork

Ingredients (18)

  • 1 pound pork belly or fatty pork shoulder, minced
  • 1 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated, stemmed, and finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 5 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 ounce dried shrimp
  • 1 ounce fried garlic
  • 1 ounce fried shallot
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons broad bean paste with chili
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sweet bean sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soybean paste
  • 2 tablespoons chee hou sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 pound fresh bucatini noodles
  • finely julienned fresh cucumber, to garnish
  • finely sliced scallion, to garnish
  • finely julienned daikon, to garnish
  • trimmed and lightly blanched mung bean sprouts, to garnish
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Marco Polo Noodles with Stir-Fried Minced Pork

This recipe comes from China Live, an interactive culinary and cultural destination in the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown that offers an in-depth exploration of Greater Chinese gastronomy. If you can’t visit, this dish is easy to make at home, although you may need to buy a few special ingredients first, either in a local Asian market or online. See the Shopping List section for more info. Since the actual cooking happens fairly quickly, make sure to chop, measure, and assemble all your ingredients before you start. In just a short time, you’ll end up with a bowl of tender Italian bucatini noodles tossed in a complex sweet-savory-salty-spicy Chinese bean sauce, with stir-fried minced pork, mushrooms, and aromatics, plus slivered vegetables for a bit of fresh crunch.

Shopping List: Broad bean paste with chili is a fermented bean paste that adds depth and umami flavor to many Sichuan dishes, and may also be labeled doubanjiang, douban, toban-djan, or chili bean sauce.

Sweet bean sauce, as the name suggests, adds a bit of sweetness, and may be labeled tian mian jiang.

Soybean paste or soybean sauce is made from yellow soybeans and is saltier than sweet bean sauce.

Chee hou sauce tastes similar to hoisin sauce with garlic added, so if you can’t find it for a reasonable price, try substituting an equal amount of hoisin with just a small amount of fresh garlic stirred in.

Tips for Shrimp and Pork

Instructions

  1. 1In a small bowl, combine the chicken stock, broad bean paste, sweet bean sauce, soybean paste, and chee hou sauce, and set aside.
  2. 2Fill a large pasta pot with water and place over high heat to bring to a boil.
  3. 3Meanwhile, heat about 1/2 tablespoon canola oil in a wok or large, heavy-bottomed frying pan, and stir-fry the ginger, scallion, pork, mushrooms, dried shrimp, fried garlic, and fried shallot, stirring constantly, until the pork begins to change color and is almost cooked through. Transfer to a platter or bowl.
  4. 4Heat up 1 tablespoon oil in same wok or pan and pour in the bowl of sauce you mixed together in step 1. Bring to a boil and return the stir fried pork mixture to the wok or pan.
  5. 5Lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn heat up toward the end to thicken the sauce, still stirring occasionally.
  6. 6When the sauce is almost done, cook the fresh pasta in the boiling water for about 7 minutes (or follow package directions).
  7. 7Drain noodles as soon as they are done and divide among serving bowls. Top with fresh vegetable garnishes to taste, then ladle sauce evenly into bowls. Garnish with more sliced scallions and fried garlic if desired. Serve immediately, to be mixed together at the table.
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