Asian Foods Ep.1

Asian Foods : PORK LO MEIN

by Thomas M. Tillman
I recently swooned over a new cookbook from America's Test Kitchen entitled Comfort Food Makeovers. The chicken enchiladas I tried were delicious and a great lightened up version of the classic. As I mentioned in that review, I was very much looking forward to trying more recipes from this book (especially now that I'm trying to crack down and lose some weight).
overhead view of a square bowl filled with Asian noodles with sliced pork, mushrooms, and chopsticks
In a game of poker, if the chicken enchiladas were a full house, this pork lo mein was a royal flush! It was probably the best lo mein I've ever had! It was so full of flavor, with incredibly tender slices of pork tenderloin. And, unlike the local take-out, I actually knew everything that went into making it! No mystery ingredients here.
a closeup of lo mein noodles with sliced pork and mushrooms
Each serving is full of lean meat and vegetables, with less of a focus on the noodles (this makes it healthier than if it was completely carb-centered). There were still plenty of noodles to go around, and a single serving was definitely filling enough not to require seconds (although it was so delicious I wouldn't blame you if you did). I will never need another lo mein recipe. Ever. This was incredibly straightforward and easy to make.
lo mein noodles with sliced pork and mushrooms in a square bowl with black chopsticks
Even if you don't have a local Asian market to shop at (as I do), you can easily find all of these ingredients in a well-stocked supermarket. In the case of the shiitakes I used, my Asian market was out, and the supermarket only had pre-sliced ones. This worked just fine so if you can't find whole shiitakes to work with, don't fret! I'm also sure you could swap the pork tenderloin for chicken breast if you'd like. The flavors in the sauce would work great with either protein.
a closeup of pork lo mein noodles in a square bowl with black chopsticks


  • 4 ½ tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 (1 ½-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed of all visible fat, halved lengthwise, and sliced crosswise into ⅛-inch-thick pieces
  • ¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
  • 12 ounces spaghetti
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 ½ teaspoons canola oil
  • 6 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 12 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and halved if small or quartered if large (mine were pre-sliced)
  • ½ head napa cabbage, cored and sliced crosswise into ½-inch-thick pieces (6 cups)
  • 8 scallions white parts sliced thin, green parts cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce


  • Combine soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin, sesame oil, and five-spice powder together in a bowl. Measure ¼ cup sauce mixture into separate bowl and stir in pork; cover and refrigerate, 30 to 60 minutes. Whisk broth and cornstarch into remaining sauce mixture.
  • Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Drain pasta and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat 1 ½ teaspoons canola oil in Dutch oven over high heat until just smoking. Add half the pork, breaking up any clumps, and cook until lightly browned but not fully cooked, about 3 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons wine and cook until liquid is nearly evaporated, about 1 minute. Transfer to clean bowl. Repeat with 1 ½ teaspoons canola oil, remaining pork, and remaining 3 tablespoons wine.
  • Wipe now-empty pot clean, add remaining 1 ½ teaspoons canola oil, and place over high heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and cook until lightly browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in cabbage and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in scallions, ginger, and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Whisk sauce to recombine and add to pot. Stir in cooked pork and any accumulated juices and simmer until sauce has thickened slightly and pork is heated through, about 1 minute. Stir in cooked pasta and Sriracha. Serve.