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Noodles with Spicy Cabbage and Pork

December 6, 2010

By Kath Dedon


This Noodles with Spicy Cabbage and Pork is unbelievably good! I’ve made it twice in the past week. Made with only ½ pound of ground pork, 1½  to 2 pounds of Napa cabbage and rice noodles, it’s a great sample recipe from Mark Bittman’s new Food Matters Cookbook.

This latest collection from Mr. Bittman focuses on recipes that use more vegetables and less meat. He points out, without being preachy, that it’s better for you and better for the planet. I’m looking forward to exploring this book. If most of the recipes are as good as the Noodles with Spicy Cabbage and Pork, it’s a winner!

When I first made it I was skeptical about all of the cabbage. I was amazed to find that it worked out perfectly, so don’t be put off by the humongous pile of chopped cabbage.

I used twice as much garlic and three times as much ginger when I made it, and we thought it was perfect. It serves 4. If you have leftovers, it makes a fabulous lunch! It can be heated up in a microwave, but, honestly, it’s even delicious as a cold noodle dish.

I can’t recommend Noodles with Spicy Cabbage and Pork enough. Try it…you’ll like it!


Noodles with Spicy Cabbage and Pork

(Adapted from a recipe in Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook)


(print the recipe)


Serves 4


2 tablespoons oil (I used coconut oil, but other cooking oils are fine)

8 ounces ground pork

2 tablespoons minced garlic

3 tablespoons minced ginger

1 head Napa cabbage (1½ to 2 pounds), chopped

½ cup water

8 ounces medium rice noodles, cooked according to package directions*

3 tablespoons gluten-free tamari sauce (or use soy sauce if you don’t need gluten-free)

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 teaspoons chili oil

Black pepper

¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro (really good, but optional)

Lime wedges (optional)


Medium size rice noodles, chili oil, and ginger


A 2-pound Napa cabbage

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Add the ground pork. Sprinkle with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until the pork is cooked and has browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pork from the pan.

3. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the garlic and ginger to the pan. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute.

4. Add the cabbage to the pan with the ½ cup of water. (If the cabbage doesn’t all fit, put as much as you can in the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it cooks down and then add the rest.)

5. Cook the cabbage until it has softened and all of the water has evaporated, about 15 – 20 minutes. Continue cooking until it starts to brown a bit, about 5 minutes more.

My pan was over-flowing with cabbage.

This is how it looked after it had cooked down.

6. When the cabbage is almost done, cook the rice noodles. Follow the package directions.

*If there are no directions for cooking the noodles, here’s how I cooked my medium rice noodles. Bring about 4 cups of salted water to a boil in a 2 or 3 quart pan. Remove from the heat. Immerse the rice noodles in the pan. Stir and then let them stand for 8 – 10 minutes. Reserve about ½ cup of the water, and then drain and rinse with cold water.

7. Add the noodles, pork, soy sauce, sesame oil, chili oil, and some black pepper to the cabbage. Stir well. If it seems a bit dry, add some of the water that was reserved from cooking the noodles.

8. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.

9. Serve topped with the cilantro and with lime wedges, if desired.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. Laura permalink
    December 7, 2010 3:52 pm

    I need to make this ASAP! The little bites I had were SO good!

  2. December 7, 2010 8:34 pm

    this look so yummy. i love anything with rice noodles. 🙂

  3. December 7, 2010 10:27 pm

    It looks amazing!
    I wish I can have it for lunch!

  4. December 7, 2010 10:30 pm

    Great combination of ingredients in a non-complicated dish. Love it!

  5. December 7, 2010 10:51 pm

    That looks so good! Back when I was still in college, I made a dish similar to this with only cabbage. To me, the pork would be like an added bonus to an already delicious dish.

  6. gingerbreadbagels permalink
    December 7, 2010 10:57 pm

    Oh my goodness does that look amazing! I MUST make this, I love rice noodles. Thank you so much for the recipe! 🙂

  7. December 8, 2010 2:28 am

    This looks like something right up my street. Looks SOO delicious. Thank you very much for sharing. All the Best. Luna

  8. December 8, 2010 4:03 am

    this noodles is made by us quite regularly. it is so yum

  9. December 8, 2010 5:20 am

    Twice means this is definitely good. OK. Am going to so try this – and I’m with you about always doubling ginger and garlic!

  10. December 8, 2010 8:40 am

    I think I’m changing my menu for the week 🙂 This looks wonderful!

  11. December 8, 2010 10:07 am

    That last picture really got me…I want to have this for lunch! I am trying to follow the principle of eating meat, but doing it sparingly. I love how this dish incorporates so much cabbage! Thank you for sharing. I hope you have a lovely afternoon, my friend!

  12. December 9, 2010 8:46 am

    Wow, this does look wonderful!

  13. December 9, 2010 2:17 pm

    Oh my goodness this looks amazing! I am bookmarking it immediately! I wish I would have seen this last night..

  14. December 9, 2010 2:46 pm

    I love SPICY! and I’m a huge fan of chili oil. I will be trying out this recipe SOON!

  15. December 9, 2010 5:40 pm

    I don’t eat ground pork, but I will substitute ground turkey. Looks like a nutrtitious, yummy,
    dish. It wiil be good for hectic days before Christmas.

  16. December 12, 2010 10:47 am

    Just found your blog via this post on Photograzing and glad I did! This looks so delicious. I’m definitely a fan of the tasty simpler style meals and it just so happens I’ve got a huge head of napa cabbage in my fridge!

    Chow on,

  17. December 16, 2010 2:34 pm

    This is a really great dish, I love those rice noodles. Love those toffee squares too, maybe even in the same meal. Some good looking food going on over here!

  18. December 28, 2010 9:45 am

    Well now doesn’t THIS look delightful! I’ve never tried that chili oil. I need to grab some at the market. Everything else I have. This looks amazing. I love these noodle dishes and I need to know more ways to cook with cabbage. Besides in soup, I am not good with cabbage. Thank you for sharing this!

  19. Abby Normal permalink
    May 28, 2011 4:16 pm

    i made this for my maman, and i swear she loved it. She’s an italian lady who hates asian food, so that says something ^_^


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