Friday, February 08, 2008

A dish of pork, soba noodles and sesame...

We keep lots of different oils on hand to use in cooking, but I have to admit that one of my favorites is toasted sesame oil. That dark, rich and pungent sesame flavor really perks up a lot of different dishes - even though tonight's dinner, Sesame-Ginger Pork with Soba Noodles, used just 2 teaspoons, it still packed a punch.

If you have easy access to soba (buckwheat) noodles, great - but if you don't and still want to make this, you can also use a whole-wheat spaghetti. While we waited for the noodles, we heated up the sesame oil and added some minced pickled ginger. When the sweet flavor of the ginger hit my nose, I raised the heat for the skillet and tossed in tender chunks of lean pork tenderloin. Once the meat had browned on all sides, it was lightly seasoned and we stirred in a few green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

Broth and some salty soy sauce were added to finish off the pork and begin creating a flavorful "sauce" for the noodles. Crisp slices of water chestnuts and the noodles are added off heat and the dish is freshened up with a sprinkling of chopped cilantro. At first it looked like it was going to be quite wet, but the noodles slowly drank up some of the excess liquid, without turning mushy, and turned out to be just saucy enough for us. With the generous pieces of tenderloin, this finished noodle dish with its poignant sesame depth from the oil and crunchy toasted seeds was a snap to prepare with minimal prep work and a pleasant way to bring a busy week to a close.

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