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06/15/2020

~ No-Pain Stay-Sane Pantry-Cooking Pork Lo-Mein ~

IMG_3094Lo mein.  In Chinese it literally means "tossed noodles", and, it implies a method in which cooked wheat noodles get tossed into almost any type of stir-fry at the end of the cooking process.  As a result, the noodles absorb some sauce and stay soft while the other previously-cooked ingredients (meat, poultry, seafood and/or vegetables) get distributed evenly throughout. An example of the opposite would be chow mein, which means "fried noodles", and implies a method in which the noodles are fried to a crispy state at the beginning of the cooking process.

Lo-Mein.  Like spaghetti, I want it when I want it.  ASAP.

Noodles are universally popular and lo mein is extremely popular in Chinese restaurants all over the world.  I for one have eaten in Chinese restaurants all over the world and have never encountered a Chinese menu sans lo mein.  That would be the equivalent of walking into an Italian restaurant and not being able to order a simply-sauced bowl of stranded pasta.  It's unthinkable.  The same goes in my home kitchen too, and it's why this lo-mein lover came up with a quick-to-make pantry-staple-recipe to quickly satisfy my cravings for lo-mein any time of the day or night.  Just like eating a bowl of spaghetti at midnight, I want it when I want it -- ASAP.

Get out a few pantry staples, slice pork & cook noodles:

6a0120a8551282970b01bb095ecaf4970dFor the marinade/sauce (1 1/4 cups -- 1/2  cup for marinade/3/4 cup to sauce stir-fry) & noodles: 

8  tablespoons tablespoons Chinese soy sauce

3  tablespoons each:  hoisin sauce, oyster-flavored sauce, Sriracha sauce and sesame oil

16  ounces lo-mein noodles or spaghetti, cooked according to package directions, drained and briefly rinsed under cold running water to keep them from sticking together 

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c8bbdde3970bFor the stir-fry:

2  pounds pork tenderloin, prepped and marinated as directed below

1/2  cup marinade/sauce, from above recipe, for marinating pork

2  tablespoons sesame oil 

1  tablespoon bottled minced garlic or garlic paste

2  tablespoons bottled minced ginger or ginger paste

1  generous cup thinly-sliced sweet onion, half-moon shapes cut into halves

1 1/2-2  cups frozen peas and carrots

1  4 1/2-6-ounce jar sliced mushrooms, well-drained

cooked lo-mein noodles and marinade/sauce, from above recipe

6a0120a8551282970b01bb095ecdd9970d IMG_3035 IMG_3035 IMG_3035 IMG_3035~Step 1.  In a 1-cup measuring container, stir together the ingredients for the marinade/sauce.  Slice the tenderloins into thin, 1/8"-1/4"-thick disks, then cut the disks into thin strips, placing them in a 1-gallon food storage bag as you work.  Add 1/2 cup of the marinade/sauce mixture to the pork and close the bag.  Using your fingertips, "massage" the bag of pork until the meat is evenly coated in marinade and set aside.  Dice the onion and set aside.

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c8bbd680970b 6a0120a8551282970b01b7c8bbd680970b 6a0120a8551282970b01b7c8bbd680970b 6a0120a8551282970b01b7c8bbd680970b~Step 2.  While pork is marinating, cook lo-mein noodles as directed, drain into a colander and rinse under cold running water.  For a moment or two, give the colander several vigorous shakes to insure excess water is removed.  Set aside to thoroughly drain while preparing stir fry.

Note:  While spaghetti may be substituted for lo-mein noodles without any compromise in taste or texture, be aware that lo-mein noodles cook to al dente in a short 3-4 minutes  and  spaghetti will take a bit longer, 10-11 minutes.  Be sure not to overcook either one.

IMG_3044 IMG_3044 IMG_3049 IMG_3049 IMG_3049 IMG_3049~Step 3.  In a 16" electric skillet, heat sesame oil to 325° (medium-high).  Add the garlic and ginger paste and cook, stirring constantly, until bubbling and fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the pork and all of it's marinade in the bag.  Stir-fry, stirring constantly, until pork is turning opaque and just short of being cooked through, about 3 minutes.  

IMG_3061 IMG_3061 IMG_3061 IMG_3061 IMG_3061 IMG_3061~Step 4.  Add the onion, frozen vegetables and mushrooms. Continue to stir-fry, stirring constantly, until veggies are just thawed, about 3 more minutes.  Drizzle in 1/2 cup of the sauce and stir until all ingredients are completely and evenly coated.  Note:  There will be a generous 1/4 cup marinade/sauce left for the next and last step.

IMG_3078 IMG_3078 IMG_3078~ Step 5.  Add the cooked lo mein noodles to the skillet.  Using two large spoons or two forks, toss, like you would a salad, until noodles are coated in sauce, adding the additional sauce, until the noodles are evenly coated and heated through, about 1-2 minutes.  Portion into warm bowls & serve ASAP.

Portion into warm bowls & serve ASAP:

IMG_3099Skip the take-out or delivery -- get it from your pantry!

IMG_3109No-Pain Stay-Sane Pantry-Cooking Pork Lo-Mein:  Recipe yields 6 hearty servings.

Special Equipment List:  1-cup measuring container; cutting board; chef's knife; 1-gallon food storage bag; 4-quart wide-bottomed stockpot; colander; 16" electric skillet, or, 12" stir-fry pan or skillet, preferably nonstick; two large slotted spoons or forks

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c8bbe5d6970bCook's Note:  The secret to a great stir-fry is a great sauce and the concoction I used in this recipe, a 2:1  ratio of soy sauce to equal parts hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, Sriracha sauce and sesame oil takes a back seat to none.  I use it as an easy-to-make go-to Asian brown sauce in all sorts of stir-fries.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2020)

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