Wok preparations, even Cambodian varieties, are a fairly common theme on these pages, appearing probably every month or so. Not surprising, as they’re a personal preference. Variety is important, of course, and it will continue as the leading motivation. Still, favorites remain favorites.
Anyway,, most of these wok creations are served with rice, and today’s entry fits that pattern, though not in the usual way. In the latest attempt, rice noodles are what extends the vegetables and proteins. Specifically, the current entry is Fried Rice Noodles with Pork and Shrimp, another recipe extracted from My Linh Nakry’s treasure house Cambodian Recipe.
Structurally, the noodles serve mainly to tie together the other ingredients, ensuring each bite captures a variety of flavors. There’s the shrimp’s light brininess and sweetness, which the carrots accent nicely. Shallots, chives and garlic share the allium family’s affinity for pork, which the wok’s sear and a good cross-grain slice has made lusciously tender. Scallions and bean sprouts contribute a crisp freshness. And so on, and so on.
Noodles help with all this taste, too, as they start with a rather neutral character, but quickly adopt the big flavors all around them. The canvas quickly fills with bright, gorgeous colors, as the noodles dramatically rocket from 0 to 100, flavor-wise. Stir-frying only amplifies this amazing property.
Think of a bowl of deeply-flavorful ramen noodles, heavily laden with all sorts of treasures, though without the broth. With noodles this tasty, who needs broth? Eminently slurp-worthy, and a great break from “plain” jasmine rice.
Fried Rice Noodles with Pork and Shrimp
- 6 cups water
- 1 package dried rice noodles
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar (*1)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (*2)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 pound boneless pork ribs, sliced thinly across the grain
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground pepper
- 1 onion, sliced (*3)
- 1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
- 1/2 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 1 can bean sprouts, drained
- 4 ounces chives, cut to 3-inch lengths (*4)
- 1 scallion, chopped
Pour the six cup of water into a large saucepan and place it over a medium-high flame. Once water boils, add the dried noodles. Cook until the noodles are barely tender, about 90 seconds. Drain the noodles in a colander, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
In a small bowl mix the 1/2-cup of water, the fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar. Set it aside too.
Place a wok over medium flame. Add the oil and, when it starts to shimmer, add the garlic and pork. Stir well and add black pepper. Cook thusly, stirring frequently, until the pork is tender, about five minutes.
Add the carrot, onion and shrimp. Stir frequently until the shrimp becomes opaque, about three minutes. Add the noodles and stir well to incorporate all the ingredients.
Pour in the sauce and add the bean sprouts, chives and scallion. Stir well and serve.
1 – Half a tub of palm sugar sits in the fridge, so why not use a little? Brown sugar is a good substitute it you’re not a palm-sugar baron (or baroness).
2 – Peanut oil is better option for wok cooking, as its flavor complements stir-fry’s sear.
3 – Two medium shallots are even better, no?
4 – Four ounces equals one largish bunch.