When I get a chance to hang out with other moms, we always end up comparing notes about what dinners everyone has loved in our families lately. That’s where this dish was discovered.
My friend Julie (hi Julie!) is a great cook and is very sweet to always tell me what dishes her family loves from The Humble Onion (Mini Meatloaves are their favorite). She told me her husband and kids have also been loving this stir-fry udon dish from Bon Appetit, and that it is a) easy and b) delicious. Word of mouth is my favorite.
I was excited to put the frozen ground pork in my freezer to work, and I usually keep a head of cabbage on hand for one of my husband’s favorite Friday night dinners, Ahi Tuna Wraps (which is just low carb tortillas, seared ahi tuna, sliced, spicy mayo, and some cabbage thinly sliced and tossed with rice wine vinegar). I also LOVE these Crispy Oven Roasted Cabbage Wedges from Alexandra Cooks. In case you were wondering why I just happened to have a head of cabbage on hand. You want to start by browning your sesame seeds and get your chopping prep work done with the cabbage, the scallions, and the ginger.
Two tips about ginger: 1) I love storing it in the freezer so it doesn’t go bad and just thawing it in the microwave when I need it and 2) Our old sitter Emily (hi Emily!) spent a lot of time in Vietnam with her dad, and said that they use a spoon to peel ginger skin off. It really comes off so easily I can’t believe I ever tried to do it with a knife.
Stir frying the cabbage first gives it a flavor and texture like the inside of an egg roll.
Then you brown the pork with ginger and the light green and white parts of scallions, then add the mirin and soy sauce.
I have been loving these Udon Noodles which you can find on Amazon (and we never run out of sesame oil thanks to this giant bottle I got at BJs):
Then you toss the udon noodles with the cabbage, sesame oil, and finally the pork mixture.
I discovered this dish is good hot or cold when I couldn’t stop eating the leftovers out of the container while my plate warmed up for lunch the next day.
Lastly – the recipe calls for mirin but I didn’t have any so I substituted rice wine vinegar but used a little less.
If you’re looking for an easy new dish to put on the weekly menu that everyone will love, than try this one! And let me know how it goes.
Happy Eating, xoxo Katie
Better Than Take Out Stir Fried Udon Noodles
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
4 cups very coarsely chopped green cabbage (from about ¼ medium head)
2 7-ounce packages instant udon noodles, flavor packets discarded
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
8 ounces ground pork
5 scallions, white and pale-green parts coarsely chopped, dark-green parts thinly sliced
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger (from a 1-inch knob)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
⅓ cup mirin (or 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar)
⅓ cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, plus more for serving
Heat 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add cabbage and cook, tossing often, until edges are browned, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, tossing often, until thickest parts of cabbage leaves are tender, about 4 minutes longer. Remove from heat and set skillet aside.
Place udon in a large heatproof bowl (or pot if you don’t have one) and cover with 6 cups boiling water. Let sit 1 minute, stirring to break up noodles, then drain in a colander. Transfer noodles back to bowl and toss with sesame oil. Transfer cabbage to bowl with noodles. Wipe out skillet.
Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in same skillet over medium-high and add pork, breaking up and spreading across surface of pan with a spatula or tongs. Cook pork, undisturbed, until underside is brown, about 3 minutes. The pork will never brown if you’re fussing with it the whole time, so when we say “undisturbed,” that means keep your paws off it and let the heat of the pan and the pork do their thing. When pork is browned, break up meat into small bits. Cook, tossing, just until there’s no more pink, about 1 minute. Add chopped scallions (the pale parts), ginger, and red pepper. Continue to cook, tossing often, until scallions are softened and bottom of skillet has started to brown, about 1 minute. Add udon mixture, mirin, and soy sauce and cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are coated in sauce (be sure to scrape bottom of skillet to dissolve any browned bits), about 45 seconds. Remove from heat and fold in 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds and dark-green parts of scallions. Top with more sesame seeds before serving.
Recipe from Bon Appetit