You’ve read what the ingredients are but if you’re still wondering what the dish tastes like, think of the peanut sauce that often goes with sate / satay and you’ll have a very good idea.
It’s salty, sweet, spicy, nutty and creamy. You’ll be scraping any sauce left at the bottom of the bowl.
The dish consists of three components. The pork, the sauce and the noodles.
To make a truly rich sauce, thin slices of pork were simmered in water seasoned with soy sauce, whole garlic cloves, thick slices of ginger, Chinese five-spice powder, bay leaves, sugar and Korean chili flakes.
When the pork was tender, udon was refreshed in boiling water, drained, steeped in iced water until cool then drained once more.
The liquid in which the pork was simmered was strained and reheated, and peanut butter was stirred in until dissolved. A little starch dissolved in water was poured in and the sauce was left to simmer until thickened.
Then, the noodles were tossed in, the strained pork joined the noodles, scallions and sesame seeds were sprinkled on top.
Udon and pork with chili peanut sauce
- 1 ½ teaspoons sesame seed oil - divided
- 300 grams pork - thinly sliced
- 1 two-inch knob ginger - sliced
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 6 cloves garlic - peeled and pounded
- ½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes - preferably Korean (see notes)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 200 grams udon
- 2 heaping tablespoons smooth peanut butter - unsweetened
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- ½ cup thinly sliced scallions
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Cook the pork
- In a pot, heat half of the sesame seed oil.
- Spread the pork slices in the pot, leave to brown the undersides a little then stir. Cook until no pinkness is visible.
- Pour in three cups water then add the soy sauce, ginger, garlic, five-spice powder, bay leaves, chili flakes and sugar.
- Bring to the boil, cover the pot and simmer until the pork is tender.
Prep the udon
- In a clean pan, boil four cups of water.
- Drop in the udon and allow to boil for a minute.
- Drain the noodles, dump into a bowl of iced water, allow to steep until cool to the touch than drain.
Make the peanut sauce
- Strain the pork, reserve the liquid and discard the ginger and bay leaves.
- Reheat the reserved liquid in a pan.
- Stir in the peanut butter and simmer until fully dissolved.
- Disperse the cornstarch in two tablespoons of water, pour into the simmering sauce and cook, stirring a few times, just until the sauce thickens and is no longer cloudy.
- Stir in the remaining sesame seed oil.
- Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings (more soy sauce? sugar? both?), if needed.
Serve the dish
- Off the heat, add the drained udon to the sauce and toss repeatedly.
- Add the pork, scallions and sesame seeds.
- Serve hot.