STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS WITH PICTURES
Besides the noodles, you will also need 1/2 lb of skinless pork belly. Slice it into 1/4 of an inch thick slaps. Stack the slaps and dice them into 1/4 of an inch thick pieces. Set the pork aside. The pork belly is going to provide the oil for the cooking. If you change to a leaner cut, you have to add more cooking oil or butter to make it up. You can also use thick cuts of bacon as a replacement but you will have to adjust the saltiness in this recipe.
3 shallots, discard the root and peel the outer layers. Slice them thinly. They look like mini red onions but are more intense in flavor. Try not to use red onion as a replacement because this is the significant ingredient that makes this recipe Taiwanese.
5 dried shitake mushrooms, which I have soaked in water 2 hours in advance. Now they are nice and soft. Squeeze the water out and cut them into slices. Dried shitake mushroom has much more flavor compared to fresh ones because they have developed lots of umami taste during the dehydration process.
A couple of baby bok choy. These are pretty big size baby bok choy. If yours are small, you may need a few. Slice the stem part smaller and cut the leaves part in half. I like to use some greens in my stir fry noodles for color and nutrition. You can use other vegetables, such as cabbages, carrots, celery...
Besides that, I minced 1 tbsp of garlic. Optionally, add a few Thai bird-eye chilies. There are super hot. I sliced them into big pieces so you can notice them easily in the stir fry. That way, no one will bite into it by accident.
I rinsed a handful of Bean sprouts. You don’t need to remove the roots because they are edible.
Before we turn on the heat, let’s put together the sauce. You will need 1.5 tbsp of soy sauce, 1.5 tbsp of oyster sauce, 2 tsp of dark soy sauce for the color, and 1 tbsp of OX sauce. This is a HK style sauce that is made with dried seafood, cured meat, and aromatics. You can make it yourself by following this recipe or buy it from the Asian market. If you can not find it, you can skip it but use 1/2 tbsp of oyster sauce to make up for the sodium shortage. And oyster sauce also has a strong seafood umami flavor, so the dish will still turn out good.
Ok, let’s turn the heat to medium and heat up the wok a little bit. Add the diced pork belly and stir to render the fat out. I know a lot of people don’t like pork fat. It is just the same as bacon fat. It provides some creaminess for the noodles - very delicious.
This is probably the leanest pork belly that I have ever seen, it has been a few minutes not, and still no pork fat pulling out. I knew that is going to happen when I cut the pork. So, I have to add a couple of pork lard right now. It is funny, most of the time I prefer to use lean pork belly but not today. Well, lucky I have some lard in my fridge. Well, keep stirring until all the pork is golden brown.
That looks good. remove the pork from the wok. Be sure to tilt the wok so you can leave the oil behind. Turn the heat back on medium. Use the oil to fry the shallots, which will develop a complex fragrance and bring the dish to another level. When you see the edge of the shallots is golden, you can add the minced garlic. Garlic burns faster than the shallots. That’s why I add it a little bite late. Keep stirring for 2-3 minutes or until the shallots and garlic are completely golden.
That looks nice. I am going to add some sun-dried baby shrimp, this is optional. If you don’t have it, you can skip it or use some minced dried shrimp as replacement. It provides a pungent seafood flavor, which is why I like to use it. Continue by adding the shitake mushroom slices and the Thai bird eye chilies. Stir for a couple of minutes to activate the flavor and the aroma. Throw in the stem part of the baby bok choy. Keep cooking until the bok choy stem is a little bit soft. Smells so good already.
Let’s add the noodles. Introduce the pork back to the wok. Follow up with the bean sprout and the leaf part of the baby bok choy. Pour in the sauce. Switch to a pair of tongs to fluff the noodles. Rice noodles like to stick to the bottom of the wok so just do your best to mix all the seasonings before the noodles get stuck. And if they do get stuck, you can add a splash of water to lubricate everything. The noodles are pre-cooked so now all we are doing is to heat it up.
The fried shallot and pork fat really made a difference, the noodles are rich and flavorful. Also, you can get some pungent flavor from the XO sauce and the dried baby shrimp. This kind of seafoody umami taste pairs really well these thick chewy noodles. I also tried this recipe with udon noodles and fettuccine; they came out delicious as well.