500 gmfresh wheat noodles (la mian)2 litres(8 cups) chicken stock2 tbsplight soy sauce80 ml(1/3 cup) vegetable oil200 gmpickled vegetable, rinsed and chopped300 gmminced lean pork ½red capsicum, seeds removed, thinly sliced1 tbspcornflour mixed with 125ml (½ cup) chicken stockTo serve:thinly sliced green onion and torn corianderGreen onion oil125 ml(½ cup) vegetable oil4green onions (about 250gm), coarsely chopped
For green onion oil, heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add green onion and cook until fragrant (15-20 minutes). Strain through a metal sieve into a heatproof bowl and cool. Makes ½ cup.
Meanwhile, cook wheat noodles in boiling water according to packet instructions. Rinse under cold running water and set aside.
Bring chicken stock to the boil. Add half the light soy sauce, season to taste, reduce heat to low and simmer gently.
Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in a wok over medium heat. Add pickled vegetable and stirfry for 30 seconds. Add pork, remaining light soy sauce, season to taste and stirfry until pork is cooked (1-2 minutes). Add capsicum, stirfry for 30 seconds, then add cornflour mixture. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously, until thick (2-3 minutes). Set aside.
Divide cooked noodles among serving bowls. Add hot stock and top with pork and vegetable mixture. Scatter with green onion and coriander, drizzle with green onion oil to taste and serve immediately.
I ate this wonderfully substantial and fragrant dish at Noodle Kingdom in Melbourne’s Box Hill. It’s made with the intriguing pickled vegetable xue cai, also called xue li hong. This aromatic pickle is part of the Chinese tradition of preserving vegetables for the harsh winters. In English the vegetable is called red-in-snow cabbage and is sold in cans under the Maling brand as pickled cabbage. If unavailable, you can always substitute Sichuan preserved mustard tuber or stalks (zha cai). Northerners prefer hand-pulled wheat noodles (la mian), but any fresh noodles are just as good. — Tony Tan