Today I’d love to share a Simple Dinner recipe that my housemate and I cook a lot – Spicy Pork and Tahini noodles. K first made it for me a couple of years ago, recreating it from memory from an old Chinese cookery book. After one bite, I was sold. This dish has become a firm part of our weeknight cooking repertoire, which comes together easily and quickly, but is always deeply satisfying to your soul. We love it so much that we try to have the main ingredients on hand at all times. Which reminds me, I’m out of fish sauce.
As I’m writing this, I realised that we often make our favourite dish together in our cozy kitchen while we have a glass of wine and chat about our day. I might be chopping spring onions while she grates the ginger. I’ll juice the limes while she browns the pork. These are really special moments and I’m sure that in the future even if we aren’t still living together, I’ll always think of her when I make this dish.
It always tastes a little different depending on which herbs are in the crisper or the garden. Sometimes we may try a different kind of noodle, or substitute green peppercorns for Szechuan pepper. Occasionally we throw a big handful of spinach leaves or Asian greens in at the last minute to wilt down. It can be more spicy or mild depending on our mood at the time.
We never measure anything, which made finally writing down this recipe for the first time a little bit interesting. This recipe is a jumping off point for you to play with and although it looks like there are quite a lot of ingredients listed, I’m definitely not saying to go and buy things you’ll never use again! It’s always a matter of tasting and tweaking, adding a little more acidity here or a little more spice there.
There are loads of great flavours in this dish. Garlic, ginger and chilli lay a good foundation. The tahini – a thick paste made from roasted sesame seeds – gives a beautiful richness and nuttiness. I haven’t tried it, but peanut or sesame seed butter may work as a substitution here. If anyone tries it, please let me know in the comments below!
The flavours are balanced out by the acidity of the fish sauce and lime juice and of course there are spring onions and loads of herbs to give it freshness. A handful of chopped peanuts or toasted sesame seeds might be nice sprinkled on top for some crunch.
I started this blog almost 10 years ago to share all the new things I was learning in the kitchen, and of course I love making new recipes, experimenting with different techniques – there are some interesting sauerkraut experiments in my fridge right now that I hope to share soon. But I especially love when I can share my very favourite things; the recipes that are a big part of my life that we make over and over. It’s like inviting you over for dinner and a chat. And there’s nothing better than that.
Related Post: One Pot Moroccan Chicken
Spicy Pork and Tahini Noodles
- 1-2 tablespoons Szechuan peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- Thumb size piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 2 red chilli, finely chopped (or more if you like)
- 500g quality pork mince
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 3 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
- 5 spring onions, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh mint and coriander, roughly chopped
- Juice of 2-3 limes
- 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons black vinegar
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 heaped tablespoons tahini
- Chicken stock (or sometimes we use cooled green tea)
- Rice noodles
- 1 cucumber, grated
First, toast the Szechuan peppercorns in a small skillet for 2-3 minutes. Crush roughly in a mortar and pestle and set aside.
In a large wok or frypan, heat olive oil and sesame oil. Add garlic, ginger and chilli and cook until softened and fragrant. Then add the pork mince, cumin and coriander and cook, stirring often until browned and cooked.
Add the kaffir lime leaves and HALF of the spring onion and fresh herbs, stirring until combined. Then add the juice of 1 lime, rice wine, fish sauce, black vinegar, soy sauce and Szechuan peppercorns and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the tahini and stir to incorporate. The mixture will become very dry when the tahini is added so add enough stock or tea to loosen it up again. Cook for 5-10 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare the noodles according to instructions on the packet. Taste and adjust the acidity and spice level of the pork mixture to your liking, usually I will add the juice of half or a whole lime.
When the noodles are cooked, you can either serve them on a plate with the pork mixture on top or toss them all together in your pan. Serve Pork and Tahini noodles with grated cucumber and the remaining spring onion and herbs on top, plus a wedge of lime and fresh chilli if you like.