Mark Bittman is one of my food heroes and I was bummed when he stopped his weekly column in the NY Times recently. For those of you who didn’t know it, it was called The Minimalist and, in my humble opinion, the best thing he did was show you that you really could cook anything. In fact, his cookbook series is called How to Cook Everything. But the tagline on the book is the best part, it says: Simple recipes for great food. I think that says it all.
Recently, I was lying in bed one Sunday morning with a cold and on a whim turned on the TV (something I rarely do). I learned a couple of things from that experience: 1. There is a channel called The Cooking Channel that has all the cooking shows (old and new) that used to be on the Food Network (wonder what they are showing now); and 2. When Mark Bittman left the NY Times he started a cooking show on said cooking channel. The episode I caught involved various types of common Asian dishes that are easy enough and accessible enough for a dumb gaijin like me to make at home.
One of Bittman’s messages has been that meat doesn’t need to be served as the main dish and that you can reduce meat consumption while still being an omnivore very simply by making it one of the many flavor accents in the dish. This dish does exactly that. It also means that you can leave the meat out without really changing the final product much at all. As it was the first time I was making the dish I followed his recipe pretty closely, just made one or two tweaks, but next time, all bets are off and I’m going to go crazy on it.
Summary: Adapted ever so slightly from Mark Bittman
- 3 tbsp peanut oil
- 3/4 pound thinly sliced pork chops, cut into strips
- 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 small head savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
- 3 carrots, shaved
- 6 oz thinly sliced broccoli florets
- 1 bunch scallions
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 12 oz dried Chinese egg noodles
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 3 tbsp ketchup
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tbsp mirin
- 3 drips Tabasco sauce
- Bring a pot of water to boil and cook the noodles according to the package directions. Drain and toss with sesame oil and set aside.
- In a large skillet add the peanut oil and heat over medium high heat. Add the pork and allow it to brown, tossing occasionally.
- When the pork is cooked add in the ginger and cook for 30-60 seconds tossing continuously.
- Add the vegetables and sprinkle with 1 tsp kosher salt.
- Toss gently and cook until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the noodles to the pan and toss to combine.
- Mix the sauce in a bowl and whisk to combine. Pour over the vegetables and noodles and stir to combine. Serve hot.
Cooking time (duration): 20
Number of servings (yield): 4
Meal type: dinner