Pickled Mushrooms, Char Siu Bao Pork Belly and Noodles – Top Chef Night

So, you’ve got some pork belly layin’ around in your freezer. It’s been sitting in there for awhile, taunting you, “Use meeee. I’m delicious!” You come across a recipe for pork belly with delicious Asian flavors and you answer that meat. “It’s your turn, my friend. And we will do you justice.” It was time to use our pork belly and our inspiration was in the form of chef Angelo Sosa’s Pickled Mushrooms, Char Siu Bao Pork Belly and Noodles (click here for recipe).

Before he left for work in the morning, K paved the way for an amazing dinner by putting the pork belly in the crock pot (aka slow cooker) with oyster sauce, sesame oil, sugar and soy sauce. All day amazing scents emanated from the crock pot as the pork belly simmered away in its sticky wonderful cauldron. The dogs wandered by periodically with their noses in the air, sniffing and drooling. And so did I. Unfair work distraction.

When K returned, it was time to prepare the bed for that pork belly to rest on. Instead of purchasing pre-made noodles, I mixed some flour, egg yolks, a little salt and a bit of water into “ramen” dough. I think real ramen is prepared with alkaline and that (thankfully) wasn’t in this recipe. I ran it through the hand-crank pasta machine on the “spaghetti” setting and came out with slightly sticky little worms just waiting to be put into a pot of boiling water.

Fresh Ramen Noodles Invading the Pasta Drying Rack

While I was kneading and cranking away, K was making the quick pickling liquid with some rice wine vinegar, a little olive oil, sugar and salt. He sautéed some fresh oyster mushrooms then put them into the liquid. I cooked the ramen while K sliced the pork belly and everything went on to a plate.

That plate was heavenly. The sauce was sticky sweet sesame wonderful, with melt-in-your-mouth pork falling apart with the slightest touch of the fork. The noodles were springy and tender and the pickled mushrooms were lively and slightly pungent. As with the best Asian food, all taste senses came alive with each bite. We couldn’t get enough. After we’d had our fill of a dinner worth tortuously smelling all day, K had the ingenious idea to use the remaining pickling liquid to make, wait for it … actual quick pickles. So he sliced up some cucumber and they are delicious (we used them when we made banh mi sandwiches).

Char Siu Bao Pork Belly, Ramen Noodles and Pickled Mushrooms

Alterations: We did not make the watermelon “tea” in the recipe, we used oyster mushrooms instead of King Royale mushrooms (which we couldn’t find).
Soundtrack: Stone Roses. They are reuniting for a show in Great Britain that immediately sold out. K was disappointed, but listening to their music while eating pork belly cheered him right up.
Would we make this again: Abso-flippin’-lutely we will. While it used a lot of condiments, it was totally worth it. Plate lickable.

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One thought on “Pickled Mushrooms, Char Siu Bao Pork Belly and Noodles – Top Chef Night

  1. LOVE this post. The meal is adventurous and I could just smell the lovely cooking smells way over here. Your own pasta, pickles!!! Plus I have to say a bahn mi is my very favorite sandwich, we’ll have to eat together very soon.

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