On Cooking with Alex #1: Alex’s Pork Noodle Bowls

IT HAPPENED! IT FINALLY HAPPENED! My friend Alex & I finally got our FaceTime’s going and cooked together (catching up along the way as well), and it was so much fun and we’ve already been discussing what to make next, so I’m super looking forward to our upcoming segments together! And since this was all her idea to begin with, she got to pick our first recipe: Pork Noodle Bowls with homemade Nuoc Cham sauce! You guys, I think she just revealed Frankie’s and my new favorite weeknight meal. Not only was the marinade incredibly easy to pull together the night before, but cooking it took no time at all. Start to finish: 30 minutes tops.

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And you can totally do other things with these ingredients the next time, making leftover Summer Rolls with Rice Paper Wrappers, but unfortunately I couldn’t find those anywhere at the two stores I did venture off to the weekend before, but will continue to keep my eyes peeled because I love Summer Rolls. Throw in a little avocado, maybe add a chilled shrimp, with peanut sauce? Oh yeah, that’s the stuff! And for the $3 I paid for my vermicelli noodles, I have a LOT to show for it! Leftovers for days ya’ll, so much so I may run to Gene’s and pick up some more pork to fry up tomorrow night! Even Frankie said it was a HOMERUN, which is a HUGE compliment!

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That being said, as we were going through the recipe and cooking method, we did discuss ways in which we were varying the recipe to suit our needs, which is so important before you even begin to tackle a recipe. For example, Alex and spicy foods don’t always go together, so she skipped the chilies in the sauce. I, on the other hand, was seriously hesitant to add a bunch of sugar to the dish because sugar post Whole30 has not been an easy reintroduction, and frankly, it’s no longer something I gravitate towards, so I halved the sugar input and removed it completely from the pork marinade. I also haven’t gone back to using regular soy sauce simply because the Coconut Aminos taste just as good, if not better, and it’s not as salty. It actually has a little inherent sweetness to it that makes removing sugar/honey in my recipes a lot easier because I get that sweetness from the meat itself and the aminos. But that is what this whole venture was supposed to do! It was supposed to bring two different approaches together and start a conversation about food, how we cook it, what we like, what we don’t, and how we approach those challenges to ensure we both get something delicious at the end, and our first attempt was a total success in doing just that!

Next week, we are going to be baking, but that’s all I’m going to tell you until then! In the meantime, definitely check this recipe out and enjoy! — Cooking Maggie

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Pork Noodle Bowls

Sure, there are a ton of ingredients, BUT this is one of the easiest things in the world to make and adjust to your own personal liking. Oh and did I mention this is a HEALTHY meal that is INCREDIBLY filling?! It’s packed full of Asian flavors and you’ll want to eat every last bite in your bowl! Get funky with your toppings!

  • Author: Alexandra Robb
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Ingredients

Lemongrass Pork Ingredients:

  • 12 oz Pork Chop, thinly sliced (or use pork shoulder)
  • 1 stalk Lemongrass, minced (only the lower root portion)*
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp Cilantro, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 1 Lime, squeezed
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Honey*
  • 1 Tbsp Dark Brown Sugar*
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Nuoc Cham Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 3 Tbsp Sugar*
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp Lime Juice
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 2-3 Tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 1-2 Bird’s Eye/ Thai Chilies, very thinly sliced*

Noodle Bowl:

  • 6 oz Rice Vermicelli Noodles
  • 1 medium Carrot, thin matchsticks*
  • 1 medium Cucumber, thin matchsticks*
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Peanuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped Cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped Mint
  • 1/4 cup chopped Thai Basil (or regular basil)
  • (Optional) 1 head Green Leaf, chopped (Romaine works well here too)
  • (Optional) Hoisin Sauce (for topping/dipping)
  • (Optional) Sweet Chili Sauce (for topping/dipping)
  • (Optional) Spring Rolls/Egg Rolls*
  • (Optional) Rice Paper Sheets for Summer Roll Leftover
  • (Optional) 1/4 cup diced white onion or spring onion (OR BOTH!)*

Instructions

  1. Mix all the marinade ingredients together, and marinate pork for at least 30 minutes, but preferably for 24 hours.
  2. If making Spring Rolls, preheat your oven and prepare according to the package. Also go ahead and cook your vermicelli noodles according to package, straining well, and set aside for later as these should be cool for the bowl later on. You can also get all your other cold ingredients ready for the final assembly, saving the pork for last.
  3. When you’re ready to make your pork, add 2 Tbsp Oil (olive, avocado, coconut, whatever oil you have on hand) to a medium/large skillet or pan, and heat over medium-high until oil is hot. Dump your pork and marinade into the pan and sear till pork is cooked and marinade has reduced slightly (depending on thickness of pork slices, this could range from 4-5 minutes or 5-6 minutes).
  4. Assemble your bowls! Lettuce and noodles in the bottom, top with the carrots, cucumber, onion, peanuts and herbs. Top with pork, then spoon the Nuoc Cham sauce over the whole thing to taste. You can also serve the Hoisin and Chili Sauce on the side, or drizzle a little on top!

Bonus Sauce! Cooking Maggie’s Spicy Ginger Dressing – Posted 10/18/2018

This dressing is an added bonus from my recipe remake this week and while I did use the Nuoc Cham as the basis, I started throwing other things together that seemed like it would enhance the dish and wouldn’t you know it…it was AWESOME! ENJOY!!!!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup water
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons jalapeno, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sweet chili sauce

Instructions: Whisk all ingredients together, then pour on top of noodles and enjoy!

Notes

  1. (Lemongrass) Alex couldn’t get lemongrass, so instead, she used 1 tablespoon of lemongrass paste, which is 100% the best way to go!
  2. (Honey) I only used 1/2 the amount said simply because sugar has been a hard thing to get used to for our household since whole30
  3. (Brown Sugar) I personally did not add the brown sugar to my marinade, but that was totally fine because the honey added just the right amount of sweetness
  4. (Sugar) I used half this amount of sugar (you know, whole30…) and next time won’t use any at all.
  5. (Thai Chilies) You can use serrano if you can’t find Thai chilies at your local grocer, or not at all if you don’t like spice
  6. (Carrot) You can totally buy these precut, which I did to save on time
  7. (Cucumber) We ended up just cutting thin slices and then cutting those in half
  8. (Spring Rolls) I bought frozen spring rolls, and were a deliciously crunchy addition
  9. (Onion) I added onion to mine because I love onion! Spring onion, thinly sliced, is also a great addition to this dish!

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