Noodles with Beijing-Style Meat Sauce


from Ellen's kitchen, with thanks from America's Test Kitchen


  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • 2 teaspoons plus ½ cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 tablespoons red miso paste
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 (1/2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch rounds
  • 8 scallions, white and light green parts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, dark green parts sliced thinly on bias
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound fresh or 8 ounces dried lo mein noodles
  • 1/2 seedless English cucumber, unpeeled and cut into 2 ½-inch long matchsticks (2 cups)
  • 6 ounces (3 cups) bean sprouts


  •  pork, 2 teaspoons water, and baking soda in bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside for 5 minutes. Whisk miso paste, soy sauce, hoisin, molasses, and remaining 1/2 cup water together in bowl.

  •  garlic, ginger, and scallion white and light green parts in food processor until coarsely chopped, 5 to 10 pulses, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add mushrooms and pulse until mixture is finely chopped, 5 to 10 pulses.

  • oil and pork mixture in large saucepan over medium heat, stirring to break up pork with wooden spoon, for 1 minute. Add mushroom mixture and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is dry and just begins to stick to pot, 5 to 7 minutes. Add miso paste mixture to pot and bring to simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens, 8 to 10 minutes. Cover and keep warm while noodles cook.

  •  4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add noodles and cook, stirring often, until almost tender (center should still be firm with slightly opaque dot), 3 to 10 minutes (cooking times will vary depending on whether you are using fresh or dry noodles). Drain noodles and transfer to wide, shallow serving bowl.

  •  sauce over center of noodles and sprinkle with cucumber, sprouts, and, scallion greens. Toss well and serve.


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