Spicy Soba Lo Mein

Instead of venturing out for Chinese food this Christmas, I decided to make it. I love Chinese food – the spice, the salt, the complex flavors – but I occasionally get CFB:

Chinese Food Bloat

Quite frankly, it makes me hold my jeans together with a rubber band. One cup of hot and sour soup and my ankles are the size of an Olsen twin’s thigh.

Anyway, this Chinese inspired lo mein is tasty without being insanely heavy and salty. It’s really less Chinese than faux-Asian, but hey…it’s NYC. Home to the pastrami egg roll.

We embrace the inauthentic.

Spicy Soba Lo Mein

Ingredients:

1 package soba noodles, cooked

1 package cleaned mushroom slices

1 head napa cabbage

1 onion, sliced into rings

1 clove garlic, diced

1 tbsp. veggie oil

1/3 lb. ground pork

1/2 lb. snow peas

1 tbsp. sambal olek

1/3 cup hoisin sauce

1/2 cup bulgogi or teriyaki sauce

dash of sesame oil

2 tbsp. Chinese 5 spice

scallions, to garnish

1. Sautee the onions, 5 spice, and garlic in a large sautee pan until the veggies are translucent.

2. Add the sambal olek, mushrooms, and the pork. Cook until the pork is totally cooked through. Some charring is okay.

3. Now, add the pea pods and the cabbage. The cabbage is going to fill the pan very high, but don’t worry. It all wilts down to almost nothing. Also don’t’ worry if this doesn’t look/smell too Asian yet. That comes in the dressing.

4. In about 10 minutes, the mushrooms should be soft and juicy and the cabbage should have wilted own far. Now, add the noodles…

and marinade (made of the teriyaki sauce, sesame oil, and hoisin sauce)…

5. And serve, topped with scallions if desired.

This is not the same as restaurant lo mein, but it’s a damn good substitute. Soba noodles are springy with a good bite, and absorb the nutty, sweet flavors of the marinade well. The juicy pork, crunchy snap peas, and hit of aromatic Chinese 5 spice make this complex and hearty enough for a main course, especially if paired with a cucumber salad and/or some flank steak.

Or some take out hot and sour soup.

Just get out your fat pants – the bloat won’t escape you if you go the delivery route.