Sichuan Pork Noodle Soup

A rich spicy noodle soup from Sichuan Province in southwestern China.

Serves 4

6 cloves garlic, minced (or 3 tsp minced garlic from jar)
750 g pork shoulder or pork belly cut roughly into 2 1/2 cm cubes
3 cm piece ginger, minced (or 1 tbsp minced ginger from jar)
3 tbsp chili bean paste
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3 tbsp rice bran or other vegetable oil
3 tbsp corn flour, mixed with 3 tbsp water
1 1/2 ltrs water
250 g thin Chinese wheat noodles, or ramen, or rice vermicelli for gluten free
3 bok choy (or pak choy) cut into halves or quarters lengthways (depending on size – quarters only if they are quite large)
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
Fresh red chilies, thinly sliced
Bunch of coriander roughly chopped

Combine the garlic, ginger and chili bean paste in a small bowl. In another bowl, combine the sugar, soy and vinegar and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved.

Heat the oil in a large pot (big enough to also hold the 1 1/2 ltrs of water later on) over a medium high heat.

Add the garlic, ginger and chili bean paste and stir quickly for a few seconds. Add the meat and saute quickly until it is sealed on all sides. Once the meat is browned, add the soy mixture and saute for another 2-3 minutes.

Add the water and bring the broth to the boil. Add in the cornstarch and water mixture and let simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a separate pot, boil some water and cook the noodles according to the packaging. Drain and rinse the noodles under cold water to stop the cooking process.

Divide the noodles into four large Asian soup bowls.

Check the taste of the broth and season with more soy sauce and/or sugar if required. Stir through.

Add the bok choy and simmer for 1-2 minutes before removing from the heat. It should be just wilted.

Gently ladle the finished broth, meat and bok choy over the top until the noodles are almost covered. Garnish with the spring onion, fresh chili and coriander.