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Tuesday, February 18, 2014


As those of you who are You Little Tarte regulars know, I am not a big Asian food fan.  Sure, I'll occasionally humor Ted and go out for Chinese or sushi, but for the most part I let that be something he does with Charlie.  Ditto the Asian cooking.  Just not my thing.

But surprisingly, I do like dumplings.  Not enough to ever attempt making them at home, but I do enjoy a good dumpling every now and again.

Anyone who cooks dinner every night knows how boring it can sometimes be.  I mean there are only so many things you can do with chicken before you start to get a little bored.  This is why I am diligent about reading the NYT Dining section everything Wednesday.  More often than not, dinner comes from those pages.

Back to the dumplings.  Apparently Melissa Clark isn't all that enthusiastic about making dumplings either.  But she does like them, and being far more adventurous than I am, she offered up this riff on pork dumplings deconstructed.

There's a fair amount of chopping and measuring in this recipe, but it's not nearly as labor intensive as actually making dumplings would be.  And when I served it for dinner Ted was so happy.  "Could Nadine finally be embracing my love of Asian food?" Maybe not, but dinner sure was good.

Recipe:  Spicy Ginger Pork Noodles With Bok Choy
(Melissa Clark, A Good Appetite, 2//5/2014)


12 ounces baby bok choy (3 or 4 small heads)
1 ounce ginger root (1 fat 2-inch-thick knob)
Kosher salt
8 ounces rice noodles, not too thin
2 tablespoons peanut or safflower oil
1 pound lean ground pork
1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 fresh Thai or habanero chile, seeded if desired, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil, more for drizzling
Cilantro or torn basil, for serving
Black vinegar, for serving


Trim bok choy and separate dark green tops from white stems; leave tops whole and thinly slice stems. Peel ginger and finely chop half of it. Slice remaining ginger into thin matchsticks.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook according to package instructions. Drain and run under cool water; drain again.

Heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook, breaking up with a fork, until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season with salt, 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar. Use a slotted spoon to transfer meat to a bowl.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Stir in half the scallions, the finely chopped ginger, the garlic and the chile. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add bok choy stems and a pinch of salt. Cook until bok choy is almost tender, about 2 minutes. Toss in leaves and return pork to skillet.

Toss noodles, remaining 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar into the pan. Cook until just warmed through.

Transfer to a large bowl and toss with remaining scallions, sesame seeds, sesame oil and herbs. In a small bowl, combine ginger matchsticks with just enough black vinegar to cover. Serve ginger mixture alongside noodles as a garnish.

YIELD 4 servings

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