The Sauce: Wok Glaze – A light glaze made from chicken broth and a little bit of cornstarch, it’s added to the wok right at the end. The mixtures ramps up the flavor of the dish and makes the vegetables glisten. When dished over crispy noodles, it drips down into the crevices.
Rice, not noodles, is my weapon of choice when I serve Chinese dishes. My rice cooker hisses and bubbles away while I prepare the ingredients, marinated meat and hand cut vegetables. But, sometimes I have a hankering for Chao Mein, fried noodles. American supermarkets sell cans of crispy fried noodles. This recipe features authentic chao mein made into a large pan-sized noodle pancake that’s golden and crispy on the outside and tender and soft on the inside. Spoon the wok cooked meat and vegetables over the noodles and let the glaze drip down through the crunchy noodle labyrinth for sauce in every bite. Once in a while I knock out a batch of homemade noodles for this recipe; double good.
Recipe: Pork Chao Mian
Prep Time: 25 Minutes | Cook Time: 15 Minutes | Yield: 4 Servings | Level: Easy
- 1/2 lb pork, sliced in 2-inch thin strips
- 5 tsp soy sauce, divided
- 1 tsp plus 1 Tbsp cornstarch, divided
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 12 ounces fettucinni, cooked al dente, drained
- 4 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1/3 cup sliced onion
- 1/3 cup sliced carrots
- 1/3 cup snow peas, cut in half
- 1 cup cabbage, hand torn in 2-inch pieces
- 1/3 cup sliced bamboo shoots
- 1/3 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
Special Equipment – wok
1 Combine the pork, 4 teaspoons soy sauce and 1 teaspoon cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside to marinate for 15-20 minutes.
2 In another small bowl combine the chicken broth and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch for the glaze.
3 Meanwhile, heat a wok or large skillet on high heat. Add 4 tablespoons of oil, heat and roll around the sides of the wok. Place the noodles in the wok and spread evenly in a large thick pancake. Let it cook for 3-4 minutes until the bottom is golden and crispy. Do not stir.
With two spatulas, flip the noodles over and cook for 3-4 minutes until the other side is golden and crispy.
Remove to a large platter.
4 Add the pork mixture to the wok and cook for 1-2 minutes until it’s no longer pink, stirring to keep the meat moving. Remove back to the bowl. Scrap the bits off the bottom of the pan and discard.
5 Add the ginger and garlic to the wok and stir just long enough for the aroma to start, about 10-15 seconds. Stirring and moving the vegetables in the wok continuously, add the onions and cook for 30 seconds. Add the carrots and cook for 30 seconds.
Add the peas and cook for 30 seconds. Add the cabbage and cook for 30-60 seconds. Add 1 teaspoon soy sauce, salt and sugar and stir to combine.
Add the bamboo shoots and mushrooms and cook for 30 seconds.
6 Add the pork mixture back to the wok and stir to combine. Push the mixture to the sides leaving a space in the center. Slowly add the glaze to the center, stirring as it thickens. Then stir the meat and vegetables in. Adjust for salt and pour over the crispy noodles. Serve immediately.
Secrets to great Chinese Wok Cooking – 1) Prep the meat mixture, vegetables, sauces, glazes, batters, etc. before beginning to cook. 2) Cut the vegetables in similar sizes so ingredients cook evenly and the presentation looks more pleasing. 3) Use fresh colorful vegetables. 4) A rule of thumb; start cooking with aromatics (garlic, ginger or onions), then add the vegetables beginning with the hardest first and ending with the softest last so everything is evenly cooked.
Ginger and Garlic – They can be finely grated on a microplane grater.
Cabbage – Use the outer, dark green leaves of a head of cabbage as they are milder and add lots of rich color.
To make serving easier, use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the crispy noodles in 3 or 4 places.
- Exchange pork for chicken.
- Exchange fetticinni for any long pasta such as spaghetti, linguini or vermicelli.
- Exchange snow peas for small fresh green beans or sugar snap peas.
- Exchange bamboo shoots for water chestnuts.
Cook with Sauces
Written by Helen Horton
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: September 22, 2012