Did you ever find out that your grandmother’s special chocolate chip cookie recipe was actually right off the Tollhouse morsels bag? Or that her super secret amazing brownie recipe came straight from the Hershey’s cocoa box?
Don’t get me wrong, my Nannie was a truly gifted cook, with plenty of creativity and more than her fair share of unique creations. And because everything that came out of her kitchen was so wonderful, we all came to assume that every recipe we loved was all-Nannie. I never told her how disappointed I was to learn about those brownies, and while I know that it was a bit silly of me to be upset, I was truly shocked.
And because I don’t want my someday-grandchildren (should I have any) to feel the same way, I’m going for full disclosure well in advance. Now, in fact, before I even have kids, let alone grandkids.
I just know that this fabulously warming yet subtle dish is going to end up being known as Grandma Katie’s Special Noodles. And in the interest of, 50 years from now, giving credit where credit is due, I want my grandkids to know that Grandma Katie is no Morimoto. Although I’ve substituted a few ingredients and changed the amounts of others, this recipe is really adapted from Masaharu Morimoto’s The New Art of Japanese Cooking, which is truly the most beautiful cookbook I have ever seen.
If you’ve never worked with miso, give it a shot. And if you think you don’t like miso, this is a great dish to change your mind. Jeff always thought he hated miso because he’s not a fan of the ubiquitous (and often uninspired) miso soup. But he asks me to make these noodles just about every week, and actually threatened divorce if I stop making them (it was a joke… I think). This is a great weeknight supper – fast, easy, healthy. And the leftovers are yummy for lunch too!
Pork Noodles (liberally adapted from The New Art of Japanese Cooking)
1 12 ounce box udon noodles
1 heaping tablespoon peeled and chopped fresh ginger
1 heaping tablespoon chopped garlic
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 pound ground pork
1/4 cup chopped bamboo shoots
1/3 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup red miso paste
1/8 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vodka
2 teaspoons sesame oil
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup diced seeded cucumber
2 tablespoons chopped scallions
Cook noodles according to package directions in plenty of boiling water.
In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, add the oil and saute the ginger and garlic until fragrant. Add the pork and cook, breaking up the pork, until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Stir the bamboo shoots into the pork. In a small bowl, wisk together the chicken stock, miso paste, soy sauce, sugar, and vodka. Add the miso mixture to the pork and stir. Cook another 5 minutes to reduce the liquid slightly.
Toss the noodles with the oil. Add the pepper flakes to the pork mixture. Arrange the noodles in four bowls, and spoon the pork mixture on top. Sprinkle the cilantro, cucumber and onions on top of each dish.