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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Stay-in Take-out: Pork Lo Mein

This is an America's Test Kitchen recipe originally, which means it's absolutely delicious but persnickety and step-heavy.  If you want to try it Chris Kimball's way, you can prep it ahead for same day or next day cooking with no problem...assemble the marinade for the meat and get that started, make the sauce, chop the veggies and grate/mix the ginger-garlic and set all that aside in the fridge.  But you can't freeze it ahead as a kit well, and the final cooking process comes to way more than 3 or 4 steps which my mental processing limit at 6pm.

So I keep the best parts of this recipe (the sauce, the cut of pork and the basic method of cooking) and reconfigure all the other parts to achieve simplicity and freezability.  If I do say so myself.  For vegetables, you'll need about 8-9 cups of veg...it seems like a lot, but it cooks down.  I park some frozen veggies in the freezer kit and plan to make up the remainder with fresh vegetables purchased the week I'll make this dinner or canned stirfry favorites like water chestnuts or bamboo shoots.  Use what you like in any combination. 

For the "lo mein", I've used udon, soba and whole wheat linguine, all with perfectly good results.  Just make sure to read the package directions since each type requires a different cooking time.

The sauce ingredients are perhaps a bit outside of the usual pantry staples, but are worth finding if only to duplicate this recipe many times over.  Oyster sauce is in the Asian foods section of even my podunk grocery stores, and it's like a steak sauce but much less vinegar-y.  Hoisin is an Asian-style barbecue sauce, and 5 spice powder is a mix of pepper, fennel, cloves, cinnamon and anise (at least my jar is).


Pork Lo Mein
Makes 4-6 servings

  •  1 lb. boneless country-style pork ribs (or 1.5 lbs. bone-in, bones removed)

For marinade/sauce:
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp five spice powder
  • 1/4 tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 tbsp sherry
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tsp cornstarch

For garlic-ginger mix:
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp canola oil

  • 8-9 cups chopped or shredded frozen or fresh veggies (eg bok choy, napa cabbage, mushrooms, onions, green onions, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, romain lettuce, broccoli, snow peas, mixed stirfry vegetables, bell peppers, carrots)

  • 8 oz. noodles (soba, udon or whole wheat linguine)

  • about 2 tbsp canola oil for stirfrying

  • 1 tbsp garlic chili sauce (optional)

Slice the pork ribs cross-wise into 1/8" slices, trimming away excess fat and bones (if using bone-in).

Mix soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin, sesame oil and 5 spice powder together.  Mix 3 tbsp of this mixture into pork along with liquid smoke and sherry.  Bag, label and freeze or fridge.

Into remaining sauce, whisk chicken stock and cornstarch.  Bag, label and freeze or fridge.

Combine garlic, ginger and 1/2 tsp canola oil.  Bag, label and freeze or fridge.

Assemble the meat, sauce, ginger-garlic, any frozen/canned veggies and noodles and store appropriately (freezer or pantry) with cooking instructions.

Browning the meat very well is
one key to the flavor of this dish
To cook, thaw.  Start water boiling for pasta.  Heat 1 tsp canola oil in a wok or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Add half the pork and cook at least 2 minutes without turning to brown the meat very well.  Turn  meat and stir occasionally 2-3 more minutes, until cooked through.  Remove to a bowl.  Add 1 tsp oil and remaining pork and repeat. 

Wipe out skillet and add 1-2 tsp oil.  Add half the veggies (any harder veggies like broccoli or carrots should go first) and stirfry 3-5 minutes, depending on the veggies.  Remove to the bowl.  Add 1-2 tsp oil and remaining veggies and repeat. 

Garlic-ginger in the well
Add all veggies and pork back to the pan.  Make a well in the middle and dump the ginger-garlic mix in the middle.  Cook 30 seconds, then stir all ingredients together very well.  Add the sauce and cook 1-2 minutes until slightly thickened.

Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to package directions.  Time the cooking to coincide with the end of stirfrying...you don't want your noodles waiting on your stirfry.  Drain well, then stir into pork-veggie mixture.  Add garlic chili sauce if desired. Pin It


  1. This looks fantastic! Think I could sub clam juice for oyster sauce?

  2. Clam juice would be far thinner and brinier than oyster sauce...more hoisin (perhaps with a dash o' clam juice) might be a better choice, for texture and flavor.