Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Udon Noodles with Drunken Pork Hocks, Soy Bean Sprouts and Sawtooth Herb

     A Drunken Noodle House Chef Special! 
     Shaoxing Wine is a famous rice wine from the Shaoxing region in the Zheliang Provence of China.  This fine China wine is renowned worldwide.  It has a light brownish red color and a very rich flavor that is unlike clear fresh rice wines.  
     There are many different brands of Shaoxing wine and some are vintage aged.  The bottle of Shaoxing Wine in the photo above is a nice brand that I have used for recipes many times.  The markets in Chinatown Las Vegas stock a wide variety of Shaoxing Wine.  Some brands are good for recipes and some are high quality table wine.  The rule of thumb is the fine table wine varieties of Shaoxing Wine are sold in classic Chinese clay pottery wine jugs.  A good Shaoxing Wine can easily rival a good sherry.      

     Shaoxing Wine is used for many meat and seafood recipes.  The word "Drunken" is used to describe these specialty entrées.  China has drunken style recipes for nearly every kind of meat in the book.  Everything from beef to rabbit can be prepared drunken style!

     Like many Chinese marinade recipes, the Shaoxing Wine Drunken Marinade is not discarded.  The marinade is used to make the sauce.  Waste not, want not!
     Pork hocks or pork knuckles benefit from the Shaoxing Wine marinade.  The marinade makes the meat tender and it tames the strong raw pork hock flavor.  
     Sawtooth Herb (Pak Chee Farang) has a nice strong cilantro flavor and it is commonly used to flavor beef.  Chinese chefs sometimes use Sawtooth Herb, but this herb is more commonly seen in Thai and Vietnamese recipes.  

     *This entire recipe yields 1 entrée!     

     Shaoxing Drunken Pork Hock Marinade: 
     Step 1:  Place 2 tablespoons of thin soy sauce in a mixing bowl.
     Add 3/4 cup of Shaoxing wine.
     Add 4 drops of sesame oil.
     Add 1/2 of a chopped red Thai chile pepper.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of garlic paste.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 4 medium size sawtooth herb leaves.
     Add 1 tablespoon of sugar.
     Add 2 teaspoons of cornstarch.
     Step 2:  Mix the ingredients together.
     Add 2 thin cut pork hocks that weigh 5 or 6 ounces apiece.
     Marinate for 1 hour in a refrigerator.

     Udon Noodles:
     Step 1:  Boil a pot of water over high heat.
     Add 1 portion of udon noodles.
     Cook the noodles just long enough for them to become fully cooked, but not too soft.
     Step 2:  Use a pasta net to remove the noodles from the hot water.
     Immediately place them in a container of ice water to shock the noodles.
     Gently swirl the noodles in the ice water, so they cool quickly and gain a chewy texture.
     Remove the noodles from the ice water and set them aside.
     Leave the pot of hot water on the heat, so the noodles can be reheated later in the recipe.
     Udon Noodles with Drunken Pork Hocks, Soy Bean Sprouts and Sawtooth Herb:    
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan or wok over medium/medium high heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
     Add the 2 marinated pork hocks.  (Do not discard the marinade!)
     Sauté till the pork hocks are lightly browned on both sides.
     Drain the excess oil out of the pan.
     Step 2:  Add 2 green onions that are cut into bite size pieces.
     Sauté till the green onions just start to cook.
     Step 3:  Add the reserved marinade.
     Add 1 cup of pork broth.
     Bring the liquid to a boil.
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
     Simmer the pork hocks in the sauce, till the sauce reduces to about 1 1/2 cups.
     Step 5:  Add about 1 1/2 cups of soy bean sprouts.
     Simmer till the sprouts are al dente.
     Step 6:  Place the udon noodles in a pasta net and reheat them in the pot of hot water.
     Mound the udon noodles in the center of a large soup bowl.
     Step 7:  Use tongs to place the soy bean sprouts around the noodles in the bowl.
     Place pork hocks on top of the noodles.
     Pour the thin Drunken Sauce over soy bean sprouts and pork hocks.
     Garnish the bowl with sawtooth herb leaves.  (pak chee farang)

     A tasty Shaoxing Drunken Pork Hock noodle bowl that looks nice too!

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