The bean thread noodles used here (available at Whole Foods Markets as well as Asian markets) have no real flavor of their own but soak up other flavors in a most accommodating way.
This is a fairly mild-tasting dish; we've upped the onion quotient by using spring onions instead of scallions. A sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes during the stir-fry of the meat or a drizzle of hot sauce just before serving may be to your liking.
Serve with a modestly priced sauvignon blanc.
- 4 ounces bean thread noodles (see headnote)
- 12 ounces boneless pork chops
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Chinese rice (cooking) wine (may substitute dry sherry)
- 1 spring onion (may substitute the white and light-green parts of 2 scallions)
- 1/4 to 1/2 Napa cabbage (8 to 12 ounces total)
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/4-inch slice of unpeeled ginger root
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Place the bean thread noodles in a large bowl and cover with very hot tap water. Soak for 10 minutes to soften them, then drain carefully to keep the strands together as much as possible. Use kitchen shears to cut the noodles into 6-inch lengths.
Meanwhile, trim the fat from the pork, then cut the pork chops in half horizontally. Stack those halves, then cut the meat into 1/8-inch shreds. Place in a medium bowl, then add the cornstarch, soy sauce and rice wine; stir to mix well and coat the meat evenly.
Discard the outer layer of the onion, then cut the white and most of the green parts crosswise into thin slices.
Discard the core of the cabbage and any wilted outer leaves, then cut the cabbage into 1 1/2- or 2-inch chunks to yield 6 to 7 cups.
Heat the oil in a wok or large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add the slice of ginger; when it sizzles, add the onion and stir-fry for about 15 seconds.
Stir the pork mixture to make sure it is evenly coated, then add to the wok or skillet; stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the cabbage in 2 or 3 additions (as needed) and stir-fry for about 2 minutes. (The pork may not be cooked through at this point.)
Add the broth; stir to incorporate and dislodge any browned bits. Reduce the heat to medium and cover; cook for 4 minutes while the cabbage wilts.
Uncover; add the drained and cut noodles to the wok or skillet, stirring carefully to combine. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the noodles are glassy and the pork is cooked through. Discard the slice of ginger.
Divide among individual bowls; serve immediately.
Adapted from "Easy Chinese Stir-Fries," by Helen Chen (Wylie, 2009).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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