Make these photo-worthy noodle bowls and impress your family and friends.
Uses the stovetop
Uses a knife
2 Persian cucumbers
Persian cucumbers are little mini cucumbers with thin skins, small seeds, and a crunchy texture. They are usually sold in packs of four or six. If you can’t find Persian cucumbers, use half an English cucumber instead. See Food for Thought at the bottom of the page for some fun cucumber facts!
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 quarts water
8 ounces rice vermicelli noodles
5 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, measured separately
12 ounces ground pork
2 scallions, trimmed and sliced thin
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
Gather Cooking Equipment
2 bowls (1 medium, 1 large)
12-inch nonstick skillet
1-tablespoon measuring spoon
4 serving bowls
1. Place cucumbers on cutting board. Use chef’s knife to trim ends of cucumbers (discard ends). Cut cucumbers in half lengthwise. Lay pieces flat on cutting board and slice crosswise into half-moons, about 1/4 inch thick.
2. In medium bowl, use wooden spoon to stir together sliced cucumbers and vinegar. Set aside.
3. Add water to large saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat. Turn off heat. Carefully add noodles to hot water. Use wooden spoon to push noodles down until covered with water. Let noodles sit until tender, about 5 minutes.
4. While noodles soak, in large bowl, whisk together soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and 2 tablespoons oil.
5. Place colander in sink. Drain noodles in colander (ask an adult for help—saucepan will be heavy and water will be hot). Rinse noodles in colander under cold running water. Set noodles aside to drain.
6. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat for 1 minute (oil should be hot but not smoking). Carefully add pork and use wooden spoon to break pork into small pieces. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pork is no longer pink and is beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
7. Measure out 2 tablespoons soy sauce mixture from large bowl and add to skillet with pork. Add scallions to skillet and use wooden spoon to stir to combine. Cook until scallions have softened, about 2 minutes. Turn off heat and slide skillet to cool burner.
8. Add drained noodles to large bowl with remaining soy sauce mixture. Use tongs to toss noodles until they are evenly coated with sauce. Use tongs to divide noodles among 4 serving bowls.
9. Top each bowl with pork, cucumbers, and cilantro (if using). Serve.
Food for Thought: Cool as a Cucumber
There are many varieties of cucumbers in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors. The most common cucumber you’ll find at the grocery store is an American or garden cucumber, which has a thick green skin and lots of big seeds. English cucumbers are long and slim, have thin skins and small seeds, and usually come wrapped in plastic. Persian cucumbers (the kind we call for in this recipe) are basically mini versions of English cucumbers and are great for snacking. Kirby cucumbers are small and squat and are great for making pickles. (Did you know that pickles are made from cucumbers?!) What kind of cucumber is your favorite?
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