Don’t let the cutesy name fool you, Oodles of Noodles is a serious collection of more than 70 recipes focusing on Asian-inspired noodle dishes. In our household, we love noodles of all kinds and I especially love Asian flavors. Noodle dishes, like these Barbecue Pork Noodle Bowls, are perfect for a weekday supper when time is limited but you want a delicious and healthy meal for your family. This title contains innovative ideas for sauces and accompaniments to make noodles the main attraction at meal time.
Louise Pickford is a prolific cookbook author with over 15 cookbooks published worldwide. In Oodles of Noodles – Over 70 recipes for classic and Asian-inspired noodle dishes, she begins by explaining the various type of noodles from rice noodles, Korean sweet potato noodles to glass noodles (or mung bean noodles). Herbs and spices as well as pantry staples are set forth so that dinner can be made in a moment’s notice with a few fresh items from the produce department.
In Noodle Basics, Pickford provides recipes for oils and broths, dipping sauces, pickled vegetables and more. From experience, pickled vegetables and just the right sauce in a noodle dish can elevate that simple rice noodle into something spectacular.
The Small Dishes and Bites chapter deliver recipes such as Steamed Rice Noodle Dumplings with Scallops, Beef Bulgogi and Rice Noodle Wraps, and Noodle-Wrapped Prawns with Chilli and Garlic Sauce. Noodle Soup recipes range from a Chinese Chicken Noodle, Japanese Mushroom Udon to a Malaysian Chicken Laksa. Some of these dishes involve a stock, of course, but can still be an easy weeknight meal if you have frozen stocks at the ready in your freezer (or a store-bought stock, we won’t tell). In the winter, I like to fill my freezer with different stocks to make throwing together a soup or dish less painful and still allow me to control quality.
I love the idea of Noodle Salads with vibrant flavors such as Vietnamese Green Papaya and Crispy Pork Salad or Japanese Seared Salmon and Green Tea Noodle Salad. The author finishes up with Stir-Fries and Curries – my favorite. Singapore Noodles, Szechuan Beef Noodles, Prawn Pad Thai and Crispy Noodles with Stir-Fried Greens are marked to create soon. The many variations of noodles and sauces can expand your menu planning and diminish the need for expensive and sometimes calorie laden take out dishes.
On a weeknight, I made the Barbecue Pork Noodle Bowls with Dipping Sauce. I adapted the recipe to make pulled pork as my husband is not a fan of pork belly. I used the marinade for the pork belly on the pork shoulder. When it was time to put the pork into the slow cooker, I added a fourth cup of water with the meat and marinade and it worked beautifully. I prepped the pickled vegetables in the morning but that is also something you can do on the weekend to have them at the ready for this dish. Everything else came together quickly and it was better than any noodle dish I’ve had from a take-out place.
The recipes in Oodles of Noodles can add a wealth of variety and spice to the humble noodle and will make the novice and experienced cook happy with the outcome.
- 500 g/1 lb. pork belly strips, each cut into 3 pieces
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons ketjap manis (sweetened soy sauce)
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 250 g/9 oz. dried rice stick noodles (see page 14)
- 125 g/21⁄3 cups beansprouts, trimmed
- 8–12 cup-shaped leaves from an iceberg/butter lettuce
- a selection of fresh herbs, such as mint, coriander/cilantro and Thai basil
- 1 quantity Pickled Vegetables (see below)
- 1 quantity Nuoc Cham (see below)
- a roasting pan lined with baking parchment
- 2 large red chillies/chiles, chopped
- 2 red bird’s eye chillies/chiles, deseeded and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 4 tablespoons grated palm sugar
- 300 ml/1 1⁄4 cups white vinegar
- 200 g/1 cup caster/granulated sugar
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
- 1 large carrot, cut into batons
- 1 celery stick, trimmed and cut into batons
- 1⁄2 cucumber, deseeded and cut into batons
- a 500 ml/1 pint sterilized glass jar with an airtight lid
- Place the pork belly in a shallow dish. Whisk the fish sauce, ketjap manis, spice, pepper and garlic cloves together, and pour over the pork.
- Cover and set in the fridge to marinate overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.
- Transfer the pork belly to the prepared roasting pan and roast in the preheated oven for 1 hour, turning halfway through, until the pork is golden, sticky and tender.
- Leave to cool for 30 minutes until just warm and cut into pieces.
- Meanwhile, put the noodles in a bowl, cover with boiling water and soak for 30 minutes until softened.
- Drain the noodles, pat dry and divide between serving bowls.
- Arrange the pork, beansprouts, lettuce leaves, herbs and pickled vegetables on plates around the table for people to help themselves.
- Serve with a bowl of nuoc cham.
- Put the chillies, garlic and palm sugar in a pestle and mortar or food processor and pound or blend to form a paste.
- Transfer to a mixing bowl and whisk in the remaining ingredients.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge and use as required.
- Put the vinegar, sugar and salt in a saucepan set over a low heat and warm through until the sugar is dissolved.
- Increase the heat, bring the mixture to the boil, simmer for 1 minute then remove from the heat.
- Put the prepared vegetables in a large mixing bowl and pour over the syrup. Set aside until completely cool.
- Store in the fridge until ready to serve. These pickles can be made up to 3 days ahead.
Weekday Supper recipes are great for when life gets busy! It’s easy to find them. Search the #WeekdaySupper hashtag across social media or click here for more on our Sunday Supper website. Also check out the Weekday Supper Pinterest board for plenty more ideas and inspiration.
Editor’s note: This Barbecue Pork Noodle Bowls recipe is printed courtesy of the publisher. The author of this review received a copy of the cookbook,Oodles of Noodles – Over 70 recipes for classic and Asian-inspired noodle dishes. No other compensation was received from the publisher. Links to the cookbook are affiliate links.
Many thanks to the publisher, Ryland Peters & Small, who is sponsoring one copy of this wonderful cookbook for a giveaway, open to US residents only. Please leave a comment on the post – What’s your favorite noodle dish? to enter. The rafflecopter has several options for earning more chances to win! The more you do, the better your chances. No purchase necessary. The winner will be will be notified by email. If the winner does not respond in 48 hours, an alternate winner will be selected.
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