Okay, as those of you who live on the east coast of the U.S. know, winter has decided to be extremely, um… generous with us lately. In fact, we are pretty much being bent over it’s knee and spanked like a naughty toddler. We still have a foot of snow on the ground and there’s another snowstorm coming tonight. Yay? (I figure if I pretend to be cool/whatever about it as opposed to horrified, winter will get bored and GO AWAY).
WINTER: Warm weather is life’s great lie! Once you accept your icy fate, this frozen hell-scape will welcome you and you will know peace!
EMILY: [Chomps on a gingery noodle] Okay.
WINTER: Is that all you have to say? No begging? No mewling?
EMILY: [Goes for seconds] Nope.
WINTER: Well, that’s disappointing. [Makes a small child slip and drop his hot chocolate]. Ah, better.
Nerd warning: Want to see a picture of Matt trying to get to the grocery store? Winter is still coming, it seems. Bloody hell.
No joke, for the first time in my life I had to drive on a highway through a blizzard and it was not fun (remember, this New York City girl just got her driver’s license a year ago). Matt practically had to pry my hands off the steering wheel when we got home because I was gripping it so tightly.
Luckily there are some dishes that work well regardless of the season, and this is one of them. I would happily make this on a warm summer night (remember those?), or on a freezing cold one. It was inspired (again) by a Melissa Clark recipe, though I changed the ratios a bit (more bok choy, added hoisin and sriracha). It’s got a great kick from the ginger and chili, and you should feel free to make it as spicy as you like.
- If you don’t have black vinegar, you could substitute balsamic, which is sweeter but would still be yummy (or just leave it out, no biggie).
- Sliced green or napa cabbage would work nicely instead of bok choy (cook it until slightly tender 5-7 minutes).
- Toasted sesame oil is used for flavor, so don’t try to cook with it. Add it at the end. It also spoils easily so store it in the fridge.
- 1 lb baby bok choy (4 or 5 small heads)
- 1 ounce ginger root (1 fat 2-inch-thick knob)
- Kosher salt
- 8 ounces rice noodles, not too thin
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil
- 1 pound lean ground pork (or turkey)
- ¼ cup plus 1½ tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons hoisin
- ½ cup thinly sliced scallions
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 fresh Thai or Jalapeño pepper, seeded if desired, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1½ teaspoons sesame oil, more for drizzling
- Cilantro or torn basil, for serving
- Black vinegar, for serving
- Sriracha or other chili sauce, for serving
- Trim bok choy and separate dark green tops from white stems; leave tops whole and thinly slice stems. Peel the ginger and finely chop half of it. Slice remaining ginger into thin matchsticks.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook according to package instructions (usually 5 minutes or so). Drain and run under cool water; drain again. Set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook, breaking up with a fork, until lightly browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season with 1½ tablespoons soy sauce and ½ tablespoon rice wine vinegar. Use a slotted spoon to transfer meat to a bowl.
- Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Stir in half the scallions, the chopped ginger, the garlic and the chile. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add bok choy stems and cook until almost tender, about 2 minutes. Toss in leaves and return pork to skillet.
- Add the noodles, remaining ¼ cup soy sauce, hoisin and 1½ tablespoons rice vinegar into the pan. Stir together and cook until just warmed through.
- Transfer to a large bowl and toss with remaining scallions, sesame seeds, sesame oil and herbs.
- In a small bowl, combine ginger matchsticks with just enough black vinegar to cover. Serve ginger mixture alongside noodles as a garnish.