Noodles never fail to bring comfort. From the bowls of chicken noodle I sniffled my way through as a child, to the pho I crave when things don’t go my way, noodles have always been there. And with the world being what it is right now, I’d say we could all collectively use a bowl. So I present these Miso Pork Udon Noodles as a possible contender. What you’re looking at here is lightly braised ground pork, onions, and cabbage tossed with chewy udon noodles coated in a velvety miso-spiked sauce. Naturally, I added a fried egg because when it comes to comfort food, it always pays to put an egg on it.
There are so many noodle recipes in the world to choose from. And if you place pasta in that camp, the number balloons even farther. So I won’t waste your precious time trying to convince you that these are the noodles for you. These are great noodles, don’t get me wrong. But when it comes to selecting the noodle dish that makes your heart sing, well, I can’t tell you how to do that. What I can do is tell you all about these Miso Pork Udon Noodles with Asian Pear. The description of this dish is, after all, its best advertisement.
This dish starts off where many good noodle dishes do, in a hot wok. When I’m making meat dishes of any kind, I like to start with my fat-generating protein first. In this case, it’s ground pork. When you cook the meat first, the fat gathers in the pan that not only gets the flavor foundation off to a good start, it also lubricates the dish throughout the cooking process. This is even true with leaner cuts. I used lean ground pork because it was what I could get my mitts on, but if you can, grab medium instead.
Once the pork is in a good place, we add the onions and cabbage. I like using onion wedges for this because they retain some of their toothsomeness. If you dice them, they will more or less disintegrate and disappear into the sauce. They will still bring the noise flavorwise but they won’t do much in terms of texture. And if that appeals to you more, by all means, give those onions a dice. I just happen to like onions, so I wanted them to be present both in terms of flavor and texture.
So I mentioned braising the pork, cabbage, and onions, so let’s talk about the braising liquid. I took a page out of the donburi book and whipped up a concoction of soy sauce, mirin, and cooking sake. This is not a long braise. We just want to cook the cabbage and onions until they are very tender. And this should only take about ten minutes at a rapid simmer. In fact, this recipe should only take you about 30 minutes tip to tail. Once your veg is tender, we’re going to remove it with a slotted spoon. We want whatever remains from the braising liquid and whatever moisture the cabbage and onions expressed to stay in the wok. This liquid is what we’re going to whisk our miso into to generate the sauce for our noodles.
And speaking of noodles, if you have noodles that are vacuum packed as I did, make use you introduce them to some boiling water briefly. It will help you separate the noodles without breaking them. But make sure you don’t leave them in the water too long. We don’t want to cook the noodles all the way or they will start to fall apart the moment they hit the wok.
Once your noodles are disentangled and your miso sauce is simmering in the bottom of the wok, introduce the two and toss to coat. Add the pork, cabbage, and onions and, once again, give everything a toss. It really is that simple. Now, let’s talk garnishes. This is where the Asian pear comes in. You know I love a little sweet with my salty. And I really enjoy the Asian pear here because it brings a floral sweetness as well as a very crisp crunch. It is optional, though. So if you’re not feeling it, skip it.
Final touches for the noodles include a sunny-side-up egg, scallions, and daikon microgreens. And just like the pear, they are optional. Your favorite hot sauce, however, is not. So that’s pretty much everything you need to know about these Miso Pork Udon Noodles. They’re delicious, quick to pull together, and they really do lift the spirits.
Miso Pork Udon Noodles with Asian Pear
- 1 large wok
- 1 Large pot
- 1 non-stick skillet
- 1 Asian Pear julienned
- ½ lemon juiced
- 454g (1 lb) ground pork
- 2 yellow onions cut into wedges
- ½ head green cabbage core removed, chopped
- ⅓ cup cooking sake
- ¼ cup mirin
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 800g (28oz) udon noodles
- 4 large eggs ** optional
- 1 tbsp white miso heaping
- 2 scallions thinly sliced
- daikon microgreens for sprinkling
- shichimi togarashi for sprinkling
- Place the pear and the lemon juice in a bowl and cover with cold water. Chill until ready to serve. ***
- Place a large wok over medium-high heat. Add the pork and saute until browned. Add the onion and cabbage and saute until just translucent. Stir in the sake, soy sauce, and mirin. Bring the mixture to a lively simmer and cover. Let cook for 10 minutes or until the cabbage is very tender.
- While the pork mixture is simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the udon noodles and cook for a minute before draining and rinsing in cold water. Set them aside.
- If you plan on topping your noodles with fried eggs, heat a small amount of olive oil in a non-stick skillet until shimmering. Crack the eggs into the skillet and season with salt. Cover and cook until the whites on the surface are just set but the yolk is still runny. Take the eggs off of the heat and set them aside.
- Remove the pork, onion, and cabbage from the wok using a slotted spoon. Whisk the miso into the remaining braising liquid. Add the noodles and toss to coat. Return the pork, cabbage, and onions to the wok and toss to disperse.
- Divide the noodles across four bowls and top each with a fried egg, some Asian pear patted dry, daikon microgreens, and a sprinkling of shichimi togarashi.