Last time I made this noodle dish, I got quite a compliment from my husband: “This tastes like take-out. GOOD take-out.” I puffed right up, I did. I see what he means, though. Noodles with salty (but not overly), spicy (as much as you want it to be), crunchy (if that’s your thing) goodness tossed in? Another bowl for me, please. I was vaguely inspired by a noodles with cabbage dish I’ve had at a local Chinese restaurant, but the truth is that the recipe is my own. It has peanuts, because I like them in pad thai, and sriracha because I like it in pho. I make this recipe most often with ground pork, but have also used ground turkey and (pre-cooked) tofu, and occasionally just leave it “plain”, maybe with some extra vegetables. It has rapidly become a favorite, made often enough that I toss in the ingredients without measuring, but don’t worry– I made sure to test these quantities before writing. If you twist my arm, I’ll test it again for you.
There’s lots of potential for customization here, some of which I’ve mentioned already. The spice level as written is medium, so take it up or down (or out) as you wish. If cabbage isn’t your thing, perhaps bok choy, scallions, shredded carrots or snow peas would be in your version. The wonderful part about these noodles is that they’re quick, and very tasty left over, as any good take-out would be. Now, if I can master crab Rangoon, panang curry and pho, I’ll never have to order take-out again.
Rice Noodles with Cabbage, Mushrooms & Pork (serves 4)
- 1/3 – 1/2 lb. cooked rice noodles*
- 1/2 lb. ground pork (turkey or beef would also work)
- 4 T. soy sauce, separated
- 1 tsp. sriracha
- 3/4 c. sliced white mushrooms
- 2 c. shredded cabbage (green or Napa work well
- 2 T. grated fresh ginger
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp. rice wine vinegar
- 1 T. Shaoxing cooking wine (or sherry)
- liberal amount of black pepper, preferably freshly-ground
- 1 egg (optional but recommended)
- 1 T. fresh lime juice
- cilantro to garnish (optional)
- crushed peanuts to garnish (optional)
In a large skillet, brown the ground pork. Don’t overcook, as it will cook more later; remove from the pan when there is no longer any visible pink meat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to a bowl and add 1 T. soy sauce and all of the sriracha you plan to use. Mix and set aside.
Drain all but 1 T. drippings from the pan; add canola or grapeseed oil to the pan if you have less than that amount. Add the cabbage and mushrooms and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often to prevent sticking, until the cabbage begins to wilt. Make a small well and add the ginger and garlic; cook for 30 seconds or so and then continue to toss the ingredients until the cabbage and mushrooms have softened slightly, about 5 mins. Return the browned pork to the pan and stir to combine. Add the remaining 3 T. soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, Shaoxing wine and pepper and stir; cook for about 5 mins. Toss in the cooked rice noodles and taste, adjusting heat and salt (soy sauce) levels as needed. Make a well (you want to be able to see the pan) and crack the egg into it; over medium-high heat, scramble the egg until cooked and then mix it into the noodles thoroughly. Stir in the lime juice and serve, garnished with cilantro and/or peanuts as desired.
*Rice noodles come in more sizes than I ever thought possible. Any thickness will work, but if you have options, I prefer very thin noodles for this dish– think spaghetti instead of linguine. Here is a link with more information on cooking them if your package, like the most recent one I bought, has all cooking instructions in Thai.