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Getting out of the fast food rut - Chinese pork with stir-fried veg and noodles

Updated on August 4, 2010

More fast food

My last recipe could if you really wanted, be prepared and ready inside half an hour.

Let's face it, many fast food outlets and delivery services are no faster than that, plus you don't know what they've done with it.

We've had pizzas that have slid off the base, burgers with the wrong toppings, Chinese that's disgusting and what can you do. You can complain, but then where's dinner?

Why not learn to do it yourself?

It's quick, surprisingly easy and for Weightwatchers dieters, this recipe is about 7 points per serving.

Preparation time here is about ten minutes for two people or fifteen for four - obviously, there's more to do.

Cooking time is about fifteen minutes.

So let's get started...

The ingredients

This is simple, has just a little tang to it, but not too much and is remarkably inexpensive.

This recipe is two, but I have included the ingredients for four in case you want to try it out on some friends too.

Now as far as chilli heat is concerned, my other half doesn't like hot food, so I have made this mild, however, you might prefer something with a bit more punch. That's fine, just increase the number of chillies or add more chilli powder.

For two:

  • 1 thing of fine egg noodles. There are about six in a pack, so for two, we need one.
  • Ground nut or sunflower oil.
  • Sesame oil - just a few drops (optional)
  • Chinese five spice - preferably the mix with Szechuan pepper.
  • 1/2 lb 250 grammes pork loin fillet completely defatted
  • 4 tbs dark soy sauce
  • 1-2 mild chilli peppers - deseeded unless you want it hot. Alternatively, you can use chilli powder - about half a tsp would do.
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 heaped tsp sugar (I used white, but you can use brown too)
  • 1 dessert spoon rice wine vinegar - or malt if you don't have the proper gear
  • Salt
  • 1 red onion chopped into about half inch pieces.
  • 1 red or green pepper or even half of each. You could even use yellow or orange, it doesn't matter, but chop that or them into half inch pieces.
  • About eight button mushrooms or the equivalent weight of Chinese if you can get them.
  • Couple of carrots thinly sliced.
  • Broccoli florets cut into about half inch pieces.

Now the vegetables can be varied as there are no hard, fast rules here. I used some carrot fairly thinly sliced. They have to be thin or they take ages to cook and can be quite hard. We want a crunch, but not that much.

The peppers, mushrooms and onion are really a must, but you could use cauliflower in place of the broccoli, courgettes (zuchini), pac-choi, bean sprouts - experiment if you're feeling adventurous.

For Four people:

  • Two things of fine egg noodles. There are six in the pack, but for four, we only need two of them
  • Ground nut or sunflower oil.
  • Sesame oil - just a few drops (optional)
  • Chinese five spice - preferably the mix with Szechuan pepper.
  • 1 lb (500 grammes) pork loin fillet - defatted.
  • 8 tbs dark soy sauce
  • 2-3 chillis deseeded unless you want it hot. Alternatively, you can use chilli powder - about half to one tsp would do.
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • salt
  • 3 cloves garlic

Now for the vegetables, you can either double the quantities above or add others to give more vegetables in the dish. That would work well.

Preparation

With all cookery, preparation is the key.

Stir frying is quick and often, too quick for preparations to be made while ingredients are cooking. Besides, how are you going to stir fry with one hand and chop with the other?

Stir fry is something that needs to be happening constantly and as Ken Hom said, it's stir fry, not stare fry!

So, on with the prep...

Firstly, we want the marinade/sauce prepared. The meat will sit in this while the vegetables are being done. That will be long enough, because the meat is going to be thinly sliced and will not require more than about ten minutes before cooking - trust me.

Put the soy, vinegar and sugar into a heat proof bowl - this will go into the oven for a while, so we don't want it melting or shattering do we?Give it a bit of a stir to get the sugar dissolving.

De-seed and finely chop the chillies and add to the bowl.

Crush the garlic and also add to the bowl.

Now take the meat and slice into thin strips. You can have those strips as long as the meat if you like, but the Chinese prefer things are bite sized, so remember, four inch lengths might be better halved.

Add that to the sauce/marinade.

Stir to ensure that all the meat has been doused in the gloop and put to one side.

Now we can start on the vegetables, which need to be as described in the ingredients list.

So if you've been smart, and assembled your veggies chopped, sliced and whatever already, go have a cuppa for ten minutes.

Cooking

Here's where the fun begins.

Heat the wok then add either some sunflower oil or better still, ground nut.

The oil wants to be smoking hot before you add your ingredients, but don't have the flame or ring on full - that wants to be on the next highest setting down from that. Stirring stops the food from burning, hence not just putting the gear in the pan and leaving it. In addition to not burning, if the oil's not smoking hot,your meat will stick to the wok and then you have all kinds of problems getting it off.

While you're about it, put on a pan of salted water to boil and add to it the five spice. Forget that for the time being.

Add the meat to the wok and try to leave as much of the sauce/marinade as you can behind. Right now, we don't want to be cooking that, just the meat.

Stir fry for about five to ten minutes.

Add the marinade and stir fry until the liquid is reduce by one third. While that's happening, either get a clean oven-proof bowl or wash out the one we used previously and then carefully transfer the meat and sauce into that and put it in the oven on a medium heat.

Clean out the wok, reheat and add about two or three tbs of oil, again preferably ground nut oil.

Add the vegetables, starting with the florets, carrots and onions. Stir fry for a couple of minutes and then add the peppers and other veg.

Add the noodles to the now boiling water.

Stir fry for a further three minutes and add a couple of splashes of soy sauce and a few drops of sesame oil. If you don't have that, don't worry.

Remove from the heat and leave.

Drain the noodles and put on warmed plates and then add the meat and sauce, which should now have thickened somewhat.

Now dish up the vegetables and away you go.

Bon Appetite.

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