Pork with Rice Noodles, Scallions, and Chile
from fine cooking
total time 30 minutes || serves 4
8 oz. wide rice (pad thai) noodles
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 medium limes)
3 Tbs. fish sauce
1-1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 lb. ground pork
1 large red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 2-1/2 cups)
1/2 to 1 small fresh green chile, such as Thai or serrano, thinly sliced**
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
2 Tbs. chopped peanuts
Boil water in a large pot. Cook your pad thai noodles to al dente following package directions (4-6 minutes typically). Drain and shock with cold water to stop the cooking.
While that's going, mix lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar in a small bowl. Stir until the sugar disolves.
Heat half of the oil (1tbsp) in a wok or large (12-inch) skillet over medium high heat. Really heat it... shimmering hot. Crumble the pork in and cook like you're making ground beef tacos. That is to say, making sure it doesn't form one huge block, breaking it up into small pieces. Cook until starting to brown and no longer pink. Season with salt if you want. Put it in a bowl to rest while you do the onions.
Heat the other half of the oil (1tbsp). Same wok or skillet is perfect. Add the onion, scallions, and chile. (WEAR GLOVES TO HANDLE THE CHILI. If you have sensitive skin, like aparently I do.) Cook until onions and scallions are softened, stirring regularly, 4-5 minutes. If you can tell if the pepper is getting soft, you cut it too big or used too much, and ohh boy are you in for a shock.
Put the pork back in, toss well to mix. Add the noodles back in, toss gently to mix... you don't want to shred the noodles. Remove from heat, add lime mix, herbs, and toss yet again. Garnish with peanuts and dig in while its still hot!
**This dish is pretty mild with half a serrano pepper. If you're looking for spicy, kick in the whole pepper, consider half a second one. Remember, all peppers have different Scoville scale ratings, even on a single plant. If you're spice shy, err on the side of caution so you can taste all of the other wonderful flavors here! We used 2/3 of a pepper and felt it could have used just a little more.
Related post: Hot Fingers!! How to get your hands to stop burning if you forgot the gloves when cutting up your peppers.
Your turn! What's your favorite food with just a little bite to it?