Braising the pork with soy sauce and spices—a Chinese technique called “red cooking”—results in meat that is meltingly tender and creates a rich broth perfect for ladling over noodles. If enoki mushrooms aren’t available, bean sprouts and cilantro can take their place.
Braised Spiced Pork with Rice Noodles and Bok Choy
For the marinade:
- 2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer layers removed, stalks lightly smashed and finely chopped
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 Tbs. soy sauce, preferably low-sodium
- 1 Tbs. fish sauce
- 1 Tbs. sambal oelek
- 1 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
- 1 boneless pork shoulder, about 2 lb. (1 kg), tied and halved crosswise
- 2 Tbs. canola oil
- 3 cups (24 fl. oz./750 ml) chicken broth, preferably low-sodium
- 6 small baby bok choy
- 1 lb. (500 g) round or wide fresh rice noodles
- 3 1/2 oz. (100 g) enoki mushrooms, tough bottoms removed
- 6 strips orange zest, each 1 by 2 inches (2.5 by 5 cm), thinly cut lengthwise
- 6 fresh mint sprigs
1. To make the marinade, in a large bowl, combine the lemongrass, shallots, soy sauce, fish sauce, sambal oelek, brown sugar and five-spice powder.
2. Add the pork to the bowl and rub with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. Remove the pork from the marinade, scraping any bits clinging to the meat back into the bowl. Reserve the marinade.
3. In a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the pork and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Pour in the reserved marinade and the broth. When the liquid starts to simmer, cover partially and cook until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours, turning it 3 or 4 times. Remove from the heat and let the meat cool in the liquid.
4. Cut the meat into 6 slices. Pour the braising liquid into a small metal bowl, let stand for a few minutes, then skim the fat from the surface with a large spoon. Set aside.
5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Have ready a bowl of ice water. Plunge the bok choy into the boiling water just until bright green, about 30 seconds. Using tongs, transfer them to the ice water. Drain well and set aside. Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions. Drain, rinse briefly with cold water, then divide among 6 warmed wide, shallow bowls and set aside.
6. In a deep fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the pork and braising liquid until the liquid simmers. Add the bok choy for a few seconds to rewarm them, then transfer a bok choy and a slice of pork to each bowl of noodles. Pour the braising liquid over each bowl, dividing it evenly. Divide the enoki among the bowls, sprinkle with orange zest, garnish with the mint sprigs and serve. Serves 6.
Couples will find inspiring ideas for everything from weeknight suppers to Saturday dinner parties in our Newlywed Cookbook.