Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Twisted Noodles

Tagliatelle di Grano Saraceno, Maiale, Cavolo, Mirtilli, Zenzero & Cimmaron
Ground Pork Soba with Cabbage, Blueberries, Ginger & Cimmaron

I know you will be thinking I am crazy after looking at the pictures of my supper this evening- but do you know what? I don't care! In my kitchen, I make the rules... and that means that if I feel like it, I break the rules too! ;-)

Of course, you know that I am only joshing- because of course you know that in my kitchen, the only rule is that the food is fresh and good and that there are no rules! If you want traditional recipes- they are already out there and have been written up in books ever since man began cooking his food. If you want "authentic" Asian food- well, you would be advised to ask an authentic Asian cook I suppose!

But if you want to have some fun, make a quick and quirky and different dish for supper, stick around, because I would be more than happy to share with you all!

Actually, this is not THAT much of an unusual combination. Not really. Cabbage and pork is a pretty-much classic combination in Asian cuisine, in Spring-rolls and stir-fry, the sweet cabbage savory pork are flavors we already know and love. Throw a little ginger into the equation and it still adds up. But I was never any good at mathematics, so I decided to add more...

As you can see, what we have here is a little bundle of "Soba", or Japanese buckwheat noodles, a handful of ground pork, a handful of blueberries, about a handful of white cabbage, a shallot and a small piece of ginger. Oh, and my new favorite herb- Cimarron. Together with a little 5-spice powder, a dash of hoisin and oyster sauce, these simple ingredients were transformed within the matter of 10-15 minutes. I kid you not!

The preparation was simple- I shredded the cabbage finely and cut the shallot into strips. The cimmaron, with it's wonderful cilantro-like, but much more intense flavor, I also chopped very finely and set to one side. I peeled the ginger and cut it into thin slices. And then I started to boil some water for the noodles, as I knew the rest would go very quickly...

The first thing that went into my frying pan, was the ground pork of course, which I fried at a high heat for 3-4 minutes until it began to give off its juices and fat. I then added the shredded cabbage- it was maybe twice as much in quantity as the pork and the sliced ginger. 

I stir-fried these together for 2-3 minutes, until everything was nicely coated in the fat and the meat juices from the pork and then added a teaspoon of 5-spice powder. I would of course have added some garlic- but shock! Horror! I somehow didn't have any in the kitchen... and so I didn't. That's what I mean, when it comes to sticking to the rules in the kitchen... I don't. I use what I have at home at the time and am always happy to be challenged or to make a compromise ;-)

The next step was to pop the noodles into the boiling water and to cook them for just 2-3 minutes- those Soba noodles do tend to cook quickly! But in the meantime, the pork was nicely done, the shallot had become nice and transparent and the ginger slices were also cooked through.... perfect!

I drained the noodles and then transferred them immediately to the frying pan, then added the cimmaron with its lovely cilantro flavor, cut into very thin slices and a drop of sesame oil. And last but not least, in went those blueberries- just  a few more than a handful, but more than enough to make all the difference in this dish. I figured, if you can use sweet plum sauce in Asian cuisine, if you can use honey (as one does with sweet and sour recipes) or if you can use pineapple, then I could use one of my favorite fruits too!

Now all that needed to be done was for the noodles to be tossed one last time, being careful to not let those berries burst if possible, but making sure that everything stays on the heat and sizzles away together for at least 2 minutes, to give everything time to come back up to temperature.

A last drizzle of chilli and hoisin sauce, just a drop or two of sesame oil and my supper was ready! And can you imagine how great it is to bite down on those berries amongst the spicy and savory noodles, with the rich pork flavor, the sweet shallot and the refreshing cimmaron? Maybe yes and maybe no. Depending on whether you have a good sense of imagination. 

But as for me- yes I know! I ate them all! And I can imagine that it would be a good idea if you did the same and found out for yourselves! 


  1. I'm a huge fan of Asian cuisines and of buckwheat noodles, so this is right up my alley.

  2. Glad you like it Frank! I love buckwheat noodles too and decided to try out the berries for a bit of fun... glad that I did because the sweetness went really well with the 5-spice and pork :-) Best to you, Francesco