With the new year and no car, we’re back in the swing of doing proper meal planning again. While this sounds totally boring it has plenty of advantages. Principally, fewer trips to the shops means you spend less money. However, added bonuses are that I no longer hit 3pm and start to panic about the toddler’s dinner, I don’t have to rely on being able to get to the shops at a particular time and I make better use of both my cookbooks and bookmarked recipes.
Pork recipes are always popular on Eating Adelaide (if you missed Colin’s roast pork in a fry pan you should check it out!) and we all love pork so we tend to eat it once a week. It’s no surprise then that I would eventually get around to cooking this sesame crusted pork, which first appeared in Good Taste magazine many moons ago. As usual, I departed from the recipe …
Begin by taking your favourite Singapore/Hokkien egg noodles and prepping them. We use the ‘fresh’ packet ones (that you find in the refrigerated section of the supermarket), so I put them in a bowl and covered them with hot water.
I used pork fillet (or tenderloin) which I cut into three pieces. I pressed each piece into some sesame seeds, so just the one side had them on and then fried them, sesame side down, in a hot, oven proof fry pan. I could have left them a little longer: my sesame seeds have just the hint of tan, when really a bit more golden would have both tasted and looked better.
While the pork is cooking (after it’s browned up, pop it into an oven heated to 180°C to finish), heat some oil in a wok and add a finely sliced red onion, along with garlic, ginger and chilli to taste. Once the onion has softened, add one carrot, peeled and julienned, followed by the drained noodles and stir fry for a couple of minutes before adding 2 tbsp soy sauce and 2 tbsp of oyster sauce*. Make sure you cut your carrot finely – you want it to soften a little while still retaining some bite and texture. If you wish, mix the remainder of your sesame seeds through the stir fry (or, if you can be bothered/have time, lightly toast some!).
Roughly chop a generous handful of coriander and stir this through noodles, before serving in hot bowls. Slice the pork fillet on the diagonal and serve on top of the noodles, with a garnish of extra coriander.
Using chunks of pork fillet adds to the cooking time, so if you’re in a rush, use a different cut, such as loin steaks, or even finely slice the meat and stir fry it with the sesame seeds before doing the noodles. We really rated the use of the sesame seeds though – both on the meat and in the stir fry. Definitely something we’ll do again.
The noodles were OK. They needed beefing up with the chilli and garlic (neither of which was specified in the original recipe) but they were very quick and easy to do and would serve as a great base for a more flavour rich protein component.
So while we rated both pork and noodles individually, together they were both just a touch too bland. Bland feels like too harsh a word, because it almost makes the meal sound unenjoyable – which it definitely wasn’t. I guess that in this case I’d say the sum of the parts was actually greater than the whole.
* I always imagined oyster sauce to be ‘oyster flavoured’ but most oyster sauces contain either oyster or fish (or both) and hence are not suitable for vegetarians. If you are catering for vegetarians/vegans then make sure you source some which is vegetarian.