With dark tones and earthy notes, this is a simple, yet impressive, mid-week meal that you’d pay handsomely for in a restaurant. Use any kind of fresh mushrooms and, if cooking for vegetarians, simply omit the pork.
- 220 ml rice vinegar
- 3 tsp caster sugar
- 200 g mixed Asian mushrooms such as oyster, shitake, shemeji, enoki
- 3 tsp peanut or vegetable oil
- 150 g pork mince
- 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
- 150 g dried vermicelli noodles
- 1 Lebanese cucumber, seeds removed, sliced into strips
- 2 tsp black sesame seeds, toasted
- chilli oil, to serve (optional)
Black sesame dressing
- 2 tbsp black sesame seeds, toasted
- 3 tsp finely chopped ginger
- 1 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
- 1½ tbsp pickling liquid from above
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Pickling time 20 minutes
Slice larger mushrooms into pieces and separate smaller mushrooms into small clumps. Combine rice vinegar, sugar and 100 ml water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil, add mushrooms except for the enoki, reduce the heat and simmer for 3–4 minutes until the mushrooms begin to soften. Transfer the mixture to a clean bowl, add the enoki mushrooms and place in the fridge for 20 minutes or until ready to serve. Drain.
Place the rice noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Stand for 10 minutes, refresh in cold water, then drain.
Heat peanut oil a wok over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, pork and a pinch of salt and stir fry for 3–4 minutes until cooked and starting to colour. Remove from the heat and set aside.
For the dressing, pound the sesame seeds and ginger in a mortar and pestle until smooth. Add the oil and mix until incorporated. Add the remaining ingredients and check the balance adjusting with more pickling liquid or soy sauce if necessary.
Combine the noodles and dressing in a bowl and toss to coat. Add the pork, mushrooms and cucumber and mix gently to combine.
Serve noodles scattered with extra sesame seeds. Drizzle with chilli oil if using.
Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Suresh Watson.
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