“When beetles fight these battles in a bottle with their paddles and the bottle’s on a poodle and the poodle’s eating noodles… …they call this a muddle puddle tweetle poodle beetle noodle bottle paddle battle.”― Dr. Suess
Sometimes I want dinner to be cold. I found this recipe from the New York Times Cooking website by Sarah Copeland. This pork and rice noodle dish offers an infusion of zing from garlic, fish sauce and tons of fresh herbs plus plenty of flexibility. Add more peanuts and basil, or go heavy on the mint and lime. I used the Elkhorn Ranch South brand pork carried at Atkinsons’ Market. I find the flavor to be robust and the juices rendered add extra a yummy to the sauce for the noddles. You could also use ground turkey, chicken or even tempeh; it’s your choice. This basic recipe formula is easily adapted. I also love an excuse to cook with gochujang. Not familiar with gochujang? Check out my previous posts on Turkey Thai Larb or Kimchi Stew. The mix of flavors and texture make this recipe a hit: umami from the fish sauce, crunch from the peanuts and cucumber, and a palate reset from the refreshing herbs. If you aren’t cooking for four people, still make this full recipe. The leftovers are delicious and pack up easily for a work lunch or another night’s dinner.
- 3 Tbsp grapeseed oil
- 6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 1 lb ground pork, preferably Elkhorn Ranch South brand
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 5 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
- 4 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 – 2 tsp sriracha or gochujang, plus more for serving
- 1 (8.8-oz) package rice vermicelli
- 4 small or 2 large hothouse cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 1 small bunch mint, leaves picked (about 1 cup)
- 1 small bunch basil, leaves picked (about 1 cup)
- 3/4 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
- 2 limes, cut in wedges, for serving
Cold Rice Noodles with Pork & Cucumbers
- Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the garlic, pork and black pepper and let brown evenly, about 4 minutes. Add fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar and gochujang. Continue cooking until pork is just cooked through and evenly coated with sauce, 2 to 3 minutes more. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the rice noodles and cook to package instructions until tender, about 2 to 4 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. If you are not using immediately, let the noodles soak in cold water in the refrigerator. Drain when ready to assemble the dish.
- Add sliced cucumbers and rice noodles into a large shallow serving bowl. Drain the sauce from the pork and pour into the bowl, and toss it with the noodles and cucumber to coat. Add the roughly chopped mint and basil to the bowl. Top with chopped peanuts.
- Serve pork noodles with lime wedges and extra gochujang to taste. If you’re feeling like a weeknight treat, pour a glass of cold sake.