Zha Cai Rousi Mian is a simple dish that’s delicious and quick to prepare. It’s my kryptonite at any restaurant because it’s one of my favorite quick meals. I can’t resist ordering it when I see it on the menu.
What is Zha Cai?
Sichuan is the birthplace of zha cai, a style of Chinese pickle. It’s constructed out of the green stem of a certain variety of mustard plants about the size of your fist.
It’s sometimes labeled as “Sichuan pickled vegetable” or “Chinese pickled vegetable.” However, those English names could equally refer to other ingredients. On the packaging, it translates to “salted spicy radish,” which is a bit of a stretch.
It’s gritty to the touch and tastes salty and sour. It comes in little vacuum-sealed bags. It is typically sold pre-chopped, saving time, and can be eaten on its own or thrown into soups, congees, and doujiang. Though Shanghainese rice rolls are less prevalent outside of China than they are in the Middle Kingdom, you might come across one.
This meal, referred Chinese as zhà cài rus miàn, is essentially a noodle soup topped with shredded pork and pickled mustard stems.
How Come Zha Cai Rousi Mian Is Important?
Though you may be hearing about this noodle soup for the first time, you should know that it is a staple in China. This delicious soup may be found on many restaurant and home menus.
The subtle flavors of the broth and noodles are beautifully complemented by the contrasting savoriness of the pork and the pickle, which is acidic, somewhat peppery, and salty.
Also, it can be prepared in a flash, making it a great option for a quick supper, whether at home or on the go.
Okay, let’s figure out how to succeed.
For the Pork:
- 4-6 ounces of pork shoulder or pork loin (cut into thin strips)
- 1 teaspoon of cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon of Shaoxing wine
- 1 teaspoon of oyster sauce
- 1/8 teaspoon of salt
For the rest of the soup:
- 8 ounces of fresh white noodles
- 7 ounces of pickled mustard stems
- 1 scallion (chopped)
- 4 cups of chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
- Mix the pork, cornstarch, oil, wine, oyster sauce, and salt in a small bowl. Let marinade while you get the rest of the ingredients ready.
- Noodles should be cooked in water and brought to a boil, per the directions on the package. Pour through a strainer, then divide into two bowls.
- Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock to a boil in a separate saucepan and keep it warm over low heat. To season to taste, do a taste test and add salt if necessary.
- Smoke should appear in your wok after heating it over high heat. Stir-fry the pork in a tablespoon of oil until it’s nicely browned. For two minutes of stir-frying, add the Zha Cai and sugar.
- Pour the heated soup over the noodles, then top with the pork and Zha Cai.
- Sprinkle some sesame oil and sliced scallions over the top for presentation. Serve.