I read about a Chinese dish called zha jian mian in the May-June issue of Cooks Illustrated. It seemed like a version of lo mein and the savoriness of the dish made me want to give it a try. It did not take very long to make, which worked out since Paula was working tonight.

Ingredients: (for two people)

  • 4 ounces of ground pork
  • 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons of red miso paste
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon of molasses
  • 4 scallions, white and light green parts cut into 1/2-inch pieces and dark green parts sliced thin diagonally
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 1/2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into very thin rounds
  • 4 ounces of shiitake mushrooms, sliced into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound of linguine noodles (or lo mein noodles if you have an Asian market nearby…)

Toss the pork with the baking soda and a teaspoon of water. Let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk  1/4 cup of water, miso paste, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and molasses together in a small bowl.

Pulse the light and green parts of the scallion, ginger and garlic in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Add the mushrooms and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped, about 5-10 pulses.

Heat the oil and pork mixture in a large saucepan over medium heat for 1 minute. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon. Add the mushroom mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is dry and starting to stick to the pan. This should take about 5 minutes. Add the miso-soy sauce-hosin sauce mixture to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring from time to time, until the mixture thickens. This should take about 8 minutes. Keep warm while the noodles cook.

Cook the pasta until it is almost al dente. Drain the noodles and transfer to a wide shallow bowl. Ladle the sauce over the noodles. Sprinkle with cucumber matchsticks, bean sprouts and/or dark green scallion parts. Enjoy!