Rice noodles with Chinese chives, shrimp and pork. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los…)
Larger than their Western counterparts, Chinese chives lend a fresh yet delicate garlic flavor to dishes with their full, flat leaves. In this quick noodle recipe, the chives are cooked along with shrimp, pork and flat rice noodles, making for a lightly sweet dish, brightened with a squeeze of fresh lime at the end. You can find the Chinese chives and noodles at Chinese and Southeast Asian markets.
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Rice noodles with Chinese chives, shrimp and pork
Total time: 35 minutes, plus soaking time for the noodles
Servings: 2 to 3 as a main course, 4 to 6 as a side
Note: Chinese chives are significantly larger than Western chives, and their flat leaves have a delicate garlic, rather than onion, flavor. In Chinese and Southeast Asian markets, they are typically sold in 1-pound bundles. Vietnamese cooks treat them like a green vegetable, often cooking them with noodles.
1/2 pound medium dried flat rice noodles (banh pho)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, divided
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped into pea-sized pieces
1/3 pound ground pork, coarsely chopped to loosen
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound Chinese chives, bottom 1/2 inch trimmed and cut into 3-inch lengths
2 or 3 limes, quartered
1. Place the noodles in a bowl and cover with hot tap water. Let them soak until they are pliable and opaque, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and use kitchen scissors to cut them into 3- to 4-inch lengths.
2. To make the flavoring sauce, in a small bowl combine 1 1/4 teaspoons sugar, the fish sauce and water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Set aside.
3. In a wok or large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and stir-fry just until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the shrimp and pork and stir briefly to break up the meat. Sprinkle in the salt and remaining one-fourth teaspoon sugar. Keep stirring until the shrimp and pork have turned opaque, about 2 minutes. Stir in the Chinese chives. Because there is so much food in the pan now, use 2 cooking utensils to stir and toss the ingredients, ensuring even exposure to the heat. (Think of tossing a big salad.)
4. When the chives have collapsed by one-third of their original volume, after about 3 minutes, add the noodles and combine well. When all of the ingredients are well combined, give the flavoring sauce a stir and pour over the mixture. Continue stirring and tossing 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until the noodles and chives are soft and cooked.
5. Remove from the heat, squeeze 4 lime wedges (1 lime) over the noodles, and mix well to distribute the flavors. Transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately with the remaining lime wedges.
Each of 3 servings: 604 calories; 27 grams protein; 77 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 22 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 148 mg. cholesterol; 1,753 mg. sodium.