Sesame Pork Udon Noodles recipe
George would live on noodles given half the chance. Nothing fancy, just a really far too spicy packet of ramen or two. When I was his age, I fear I too ate my own body weight in these, but now, I like something a little less processed. I pinned this particular noods recipe months ago, promptly forgot about it then whipped it out one night for supper. And bloody hell do I feel cheated I didn’t start making these Sesame Pork Udon Noodles years ago.
These hearty noodles are so simple, rustic and they taste like eating a huge bowl of deconstructed pork gyoza. Fancy they’re not, bloody delicious they are. The pork has crisp edges, the cabbage has a bit of bite and the udon are soft and comforting. The sauce is a simple mix of chilli flakes, mirin and soy, but tastes much more complicated. Sesame oil and seeds add nuttiness and warmth and make these noodles so good you just want to bury your face in a bowl of them. I can’t thank Bon Appetit enough for introducing me to my new favourite dish. This week I’m working with the lovely Wine at Heart, a passionate wine subscription and pairing company making wine selecting less fussy and more fun. To accompany this delicious dish I’ve chosen their wonderful Argentinian Riesling. It’s perfect to accompany this lightly spiced, pork dish, with it’s bold, unoaked, citrus flavours. This elegant white wine is part of this months Bodega box, which is well worth a look.
Making gyoza is a therapeutic process, which I love doing when I want to hide in the kitchen. Making these pork noodles is a much quicker business, and it takes even less time to inhale them. Particularly with a nice big glass of chilled white.
Simple ingredients, nothing to be scared of here. The Udon noodles are readily available, so you should be able to get hold of them. I used black sesame seeds as I couldn’t find the white ones in my cupboard; just use what you have to hand.
Make a start with the cabbage. Thinly slice about three quarters of a spring cabbage. Heat a large frying pan or wok and add a tablespoon of oil. Sauté the cabbage for around 4 minutes, until it’s starting to take on some colour at the edges.
Cook for a further 4 to 5 minutes to soften any of the tougher bits then remove the cabbage to a plate for the moment.
Take a large bowl and add your udon noodles. Pour over a kettle of boiling water and leave to sit for a minute. Drain then add back to the bowl and dress with 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
Toss in the cabbage and mix everything together.
Wipe out your frying pan then add another tablespoon of oil. Heat over a medium high flame. Add your minced pork, flatten it out, then leave to cook for about 3 minutes or until lovely and golden brown on the underside. Don’t meddle with it or it won’t brown.
Once browned, stir the rest of the pork for another minute or two until it’s just cooked through.
Slice the spring onions and keep the white and green parts separate. Add the white parts to the mince with the ginger and chilli flakes, stir and cook for a minute.
Tip in the cabbage and udon mix, stir well then pour in the mirin and soy and cook for a minute, stirring well and scraping any crispy bits from the bottom of the pan.
In a final flourish stir through the sesame seeds and the slice green part of the spring onions, ensure everything’s piping hot, then serve in large bowlfuls. Add a sprinkle more sesame seeds then devour, barely drawing breath between mouthfuls. Well maybe just for a sip of wine.
A large glass of Wine at Heart’s Argentinian Riesling is a wonderful addition, these two are the best of friends.
Even though these udon noodles are simple, they have a certain rustic elegance. Dare I say it, they’re almost too good to just make for your family?
Wine at Heart kindly gifted me the wine, however, my all opinions and ramblings are, as always, my own.
Sesame Pork Udon Noodles recipe
Serves 3 to 4, double if you’re big eaters
You will only need a bowl and a large pan or wok
2 tablespoons oil, I used wok oil
3/4 spring cabbage, thinly sliced
400g udon noodles
2 teaspoons sesame oil
250g pork mince
5 spring onions, chopped, separated into the white and green parts
1 heaped teaspoon ginger, fresh or from a jar
Large pinch dried chilli flakes
80ml mirin or sherry
80ml soy sauce, use slightly less if yours is dark soy
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, I used black ones as had them to hand
More sesame seeds to garnish
Slice your cabbage thinly and remove any hard stalky bits. Take a large frying pan or wok and add one tablespoon of oil. Heat over a medium high flame and add the cabbage. Cook for 4 minutes until it’s starting to brown at the edges. Turn the heat down to low and cook for a further 4 to 5 minutes until the thickest bits are just soft. Remove to a plate for the moment.
Place your udon noodles in a large heatproof bowl and pour on boiling water. Leave for a minute then drain thoroughly and tip back into the bowl. Pour on 2 teaspoons sesame oil, toss to combine then add the sauteéd cabbage into the bowl.
Wipe your frying pan out then add another tablespoon of oil and heat over a medium high flame. Add the pork mince, spread it out then leave to cook, undisturbed, for about 3 minutes or until the underside is browned. Don’t stir it or it won’t brown. Once the 3 minutes is up, stir the pork and cook until it’s cooked through, about another minute.
Add the ginger, chilli flakes and the white part of the spring onions. Cook for about a minute or until the onions are just softened. Add the udon noodle and cabbage mixture, stir well then pour in the mirin or sherry and soy sauce and mix. Cook for a further minute, scraping the bottom of the pan to get all the nice crispy meaty bits.
Stir through the sesame seeds and the green part of the spring onions, mix, then serve in big bowlfuls. Garnish with a further sprinkling of sesame seeds.
I’m sure any leftovers would reheat beautifully the next day.