Spicy Minced Pork Noodles with Candied Cashews and Crispy Shallots

I am not good at deconstructing a dish. I have tried before and the results may be edible but not terribly successful. I don’t always have the desire to recreate a dish but when it comes from a restaurant in a city I’m visiting, my only choice is to make it myself. This is the case with Momofuku’s Chilled Spicy Noodles. This dry noodle dish is full of spice and texture and umami flavor. If it was available to me, I would order it all the time.

Spicy Minced Pork Noodles with Candied Cashews and Crispy Shallots

I first had these noodles many years ago at the now-shuttered Momofuku CCDC in Washington DC. When I returned I was obsessed with making this dish myself and so began my journey to find the Momofuku recipe. In the end I never found an official version and along the way the dish morphed into something different, something that has whispers of the original dish, but if put side by side would not resemble the original in the least.

I began by looking through the Momofuku cookbook and when that didn’t yield any results, I began searching online for an official recipe, to no avail. What’s interesting is there isn’t one specific recipe for this dish. Momofuku’s blog explains the inspiration and iterations of the Chilled Spicy Noodles found in their restaurants. The dish is actually a little different depending on the chef and location. It shows that a recipe can be a living thing, adapting to locations and ingredients and seasons, still held together by the original inspiration.

This recipe is based on a version created by maede.for.you., inspired by Momofuku. In taste and presentation, I didn’t change much from the maede.for.you. recipe other than serving the dish hot rather than chilled. The spicy heat was already pulled back considerably and it was at a nice level that left your taste buds tingling but not annihilated – the Momofuku version could have that effect on those unused to spice and heat.

Fresh Saimin from Sun Noodles
Fresh Saimin from Sun Noodles

Regarding ingredients one of the main changes I made was to use fresh noodles rather than packaged ramen. I feel that fresh noodles have more structure and chew than the dried, packaged type. I specifically opted to use Sun Noodle saimin noodles.  The Sun Noodle company is based in Hawaii and their products are purportedly used in the Momofuku restaurants. While saimin noodles can now be found outside of the islands, they are uniquely associated with Hawaii and are a slightly chewier cousin to ramen.

I also made changes in the techniques used for the candied cashews and the crispy shallots. Regardless of the modifications, I remain grateful to maede.for.you. for initially breaking down the recipe and giving me a strong foundation to build this dish.

Don’t let the number of parts of this dish deter you. I believe the final product is worth the effort. Having said that, I offer some grocery store shortcuts in the Notes section that could save you some time, especially if you decide to make this on a weeknight.

The dish components


noodles, spicy, ground pork, cashews, shallots
Main Dishes
Asian
Yield: 6
Author: She's Almost Always Hungry
Spicy Minced Pork Noodles with Candied Cashews and Crispy Shallots

Spicy Minced Pork Noodles with Candied Cashews and Crispy Shallots

The original recipe developed by maede.for.you. was inspired by Momofuku’s Chilled Spicy Noodles. I adapted the recipe and prefer it as a warm dish. I also adopted Bon Appetit’s method for preparing crispy shallots.

While the number of components of this dish take some time, you can find several shortcuts at the grocery store to make preparation quicker and easier. See the Notes section below.
Prep time: 25 MinCook time: 55 MinTotal time: 1 H & 19 M

Ingredients

For the Spicy Oil:
  • ¼ cup sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red peppers
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
For the Crispy Shallots:
  • 4 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
For the Candied Cashews:
  • ½ cup of cashews
  • ¼ cup of sugar
For the Spicy Pork:
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 3 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 shallots, sliced (or half of a small onion, sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red peppers, or to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Noodles:
  • 1 pound fresh ramen noodles
  • Soy sauce, to taste
Garnishes
  • Fresh baby spinach
  • Sliced green onions

Instructions

For the Spicy Oil:
  1. Mix the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
For the Crispy Shallots:
  1. Place sliced shallots in a saucepan and add enough oil to submerge. Set over a medium-low heat and cook. Stir often with a fork to separate the rings. Cook until the shallots are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Watch carefully, once the shallots start to brown they will darken quickly.
  2. Place a mesh strainer over a heat-proof bowl. Pour shallots and oil into the strainer. Reserve oil for other uses (vinaigrettes, stir-fries, soups) and transfer the shallots to paper towels to cool. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
  3. Note: shallots can be prepared 5 days in advance. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.
For the Candied Cashews:
  1. Heat cashews and sugar in a non-stick pan over medium heat, just until sugar melts and cashews are golden. Watch the pan carefully as the sugar can burn quickly.
  2. Remove from heat and cool cashews in a single layer on a parchment lined plate. Break apart, if needed, when cooled.
For the Spicy Pork:
  1. In a small bowl, combine water, sugar, fish sauce, and soy sauce. Set aside.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in a pan. Add the ground pork and lightly season with salt and pepper. Fry until pork is browned and cooked through. Remove pork from pan and set aside.
  3. Drain excess oil leaving about a tablespoon. Add sliced shallots or onions and cook until shallots are translucent and lightly browned. When they are done, add them to the bowl with the pork and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, add remaining 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil. Once the oil is warm add the crushed red peppers. Wait 5-10 seconds and then add the garlic. Sauté until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the water and fish sauce mixture. When the sauce bubbles, return the pork and shallots to the pan and add the chopped scallions and sesame oil. Stir until well combined.
For the Noodles:
  1. Cook the noodles according to the package directions (discard soup packet if included). Drain then toss the noodles with the 1-2 tablespoons of spicy oil and a little bit of soy sauce.
To Assemble:
  1. Divide the noodles between four bowls. Top the noodles with a serving of pork, some candied cashews, and a handful of baby spinach leaves. Sprinkle with crispy shallots. Drizzle with flavored oil. Serve.

Notes:

  • Packaged dried ramen noodles may be substituted for fresh ramen noodles.
  • Bottled spicy sesame oil can be substituted for the spicy oil.
  • Honey roasted cashews can be substituted for the candied cashews.
  • In Asian sections of the grocery store you may find packaged fried shallots.

Nutrition Facts

Calories

678.11

Fat (grams)

54.36

Sat. Fat (grams)

10.87

Carbs (grams)

25.39

Fiber (grams)

2.33

Net carbs

23.07

Sugar (grams)

11.14

Protein (grams)

24.00

Sodium (milligrams)

678.49

Cholesterol (grams)

71.06

Nutritional information calculated using The Recipes Generator

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Created using The Recipes Generator

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