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Noodles for the hottest of days

A little hot; a little cold: Travis Post, the executive chef of the newly opened Yunnan Kitchen in New York City, knows how to satisfy our noodle cravings. Influenced by a recent trip to China, Post's Yunnan-style cold noodles combine chilled rice noodles with pork, spiced soy dressing and cooling cucumbers, mint and cilantro for a dish that is light and refreshing.

Recipe adapted from Travis Post, Yunnan Kitchen, New York City

Yunnan-Style Cold Noodles
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Cold Noodles from Yunnan Kitchen in New York City
Servings
4
servings
Ingredients
  • Seasoned Pork
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger (about one 1½-inch piece)
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
  •  
  • Soy Dressing
  • 3 tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce (substitute regular soy sauce if you can't find dark soy sauce)
  • 1½ tablespoons Chinkiang or Black Vinegar (substitute rice vinegar if you can't find black vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • Pinch freshly ground Sichuan peppercorns (substitute white pepper if you can't find Sichuan peppercorns)
  • Pinch ground star anise or Chinese Five-Spice Powder
  • Noodles
  • 12 ounces Thai or Vietnamese rice noodles (look for the round or flat, thick variety)
  • ⅓ medium English cucumber, thinly sliced into rounds
  • ½ cup roughly chopped mint leaves
  • ½ cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup chopped roasted peanuts
Optional Ingredients
  • Chile-garlic oil (optional)
Directions
  1. Make the pork: Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the vegetable oil to the hot wok and immediately add the pork. Cook until browned and pork is nearly cooked through, about 2 minutes. Drain off half of the cooking fat and add the garlic, ginger and brown sugar. Cook until the sugar begins to caramelize, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce and set aside.
  2. Make the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, dark soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, pepper and star anise until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain the noodles from the water and submerge in cold water, then drain the noodles and divide among four bowls.
  4. Add a large spoonful of the cooked, seasoned pork mixture to each bowl and drizzle with soy dressing. Top each bowl with the cucumber, a sprinkling of mint, cilantro and peanuts. Add a drizzle of chile-garlic oil if desired and serve.
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