When I went to buy the ingredients for this dish, I thought I grabbed a pork tenderloin off the shelf. That’s the cut of meat I always use with this marinade (as do my parents) and what I’ve used for this specific dish in the past.
It wasn’t until I got home that I realized that I had grabbed a pork LOIN instead. After a mini temper tantrum (witnessed only by my dogs), I decided to make the best of it. I proceeded with the marinade as usual but knew I had to adjust my cooking method. Usually, I just grill pork tenderloin after it has been marinating for a few hours. It always comes out perfectly moist and tender. Pork loin, however, is not something I have made very often, and I was a bit intimidated by it. I realize there is not a HUGE difference between the two, but I feared I would mishandle the new-to-me cut of pork and would end up with something dry and flavorless. I ended up roasting it instead (which was probably the best choice anyway given the abysmal weather conditions outside). The result was fantastic! I managed to get a crispy crust on the outside of the roast without losing the amazing Asian flavors of the marinade or sacrificing the juicy tenderness of the meat itself. Hooray!
The marinade is one of my mom’s recipes…with the slightest twist. The original does not call for Sriracha, but I love the stuff and wanted to see how it would work with an extra spicy “punch.” It worked, alright. Delicious, spicy, and nutty. Absolute perfection. The marinated pork tenderloin I grew up with was reserved for special occasions. Along with my mom’s killer marinade for flank steak, it was up there in the rotation of family favs. And with good reason. It’s a cinch to throw together (most of the ingredients are probably in your pantry), and it yields a super flavorful cut of meat.
I love stir-fried noodles of any kind, and my husband and I LOVE the flavor of wasabi (like, to the point where it feels like someone kicked you in the nose)…so the wasabi noodles kinda just came together in my head naturally. The cucumber is nice addition because it’s fresh and cooling – it plays off the other flavors perfectly. I toyed around with some Asian flavors and ingredients, and I found that the combo listed below is what worked best for our tastes. The best thing about dishes like this is that they are completely customizable. Don’t love wasabi? Use less of it. Not a huge fan of sesame oil? Omit it. Want different veggies in your stir fry? Sure, throw them in! Do what works for you. There’s no right or wrong involved here…
Except if you buy the wrong type of meat. Hah. But I’m proof that even THAT isn’t really a wrong! See? Totally customizable.
Warm Wasabi Noodles with Asian Marinated Pork Loin (makes 6 servings)
For the Pork:
1 (2-lb) pork loin
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup sugar
1 jigger vodka
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated
For the Noodles:
1 lb whole-wheat spaghetti or buckwheat noodles (soba)
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons prepared wasabi paste
1 English cucumber, sliced
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Chopped scallions, for garnish
For the Pork:
Combine the soy sauce, oil, sugar, vodka, sesame oil, hot sauce, scallions, garlic, and ginger in a large resealable bag. Add the pork, submerge in the marinade, and refrigerate for 6-8 hours.
Remove the pork from the fridge and allow it to sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, pour the marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes. It should thicken and cook down slightly (this also makes it safe to use again).
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Pat the pork dry with paper towels and place on a roasting rack in a shallow baking dish. Drizzle the pork lightly with canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes (this will help the outside get a golden brown crust), then brush liberally with the boiled marinade, and reduce the oven temperature to 300°F. Roast for another 30 minutes, brushing with the marinade a couple times, or until the internal temperature reaches 135°F. Remove from oven, tent with tin foil, and allow the roast to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing. The internal temperature of the roast should go up to around 140-145°F during this time. Thinly slice and keep warm (tent with foil) until you are ready to serve.
For the Noodles:
While the pork is roasting/resting, cook the noodles until el dente in salted boiling water. Drain completely and set aside.
Once the pork is rested and sliced, heat the oil in a large skillet or wok and when hot, add the garlic. Cook for 30 seconds and then add the noodles, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar. Stir-fry everything for 1 minute. Whisk the wasabi paste with a couple tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Remove the pan from the heat, add the wasabi mixture and a drizzle of sesame oil (add amounts that work for your taste – as I say above, we LOVE wasabi, so I really went for it). Add in the sliced cucumber and half of the scallions and sesame seeds. Toss the noodles to coat and taste for seasonings (adjust as needed).
To serve, put the warm noodles in serving bowls, top with the thinly sliced pork, and then garnish everything with the remaining scallions and toasted sesame seeds. Serve immediately while warm.