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Rice noodles with Chinese chives, shrimp and pork (banh pho xao he)

Time 35 minutes
Yields Serves 2 to 3
Rice noodles with Chinese chives, shrimp and pork (banh pho xao he)
1

Place the noodles in a bowl and cover with hot tap water. Let them soak until they are pliable and opaque, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and use kitchen scissors to cut them into 3- to 4-inch lengths.

2

To make the flavoring sauce, in a small bowl combine 1 1/4 teaspoons sugar, the fish sauce and water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Set aside.

3

In a wok or large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and stir-fry just until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the shrimp and pork and stir briefly to break up the meat. Sprinkle in the salt and remaining one-fourth teaspoon sugar. Keep stirring until the shrimp and pork have turned opaque, about 2 minutes. Stir in the Chinese chives. Because there is so much food in the pan now, use 2 cooking utensils to stir and toss the ingredients, ensuring even exposure to the heat. (Think of tossing a big salad.)

4

When the chives have collapsed by one-third of their original volume, after about 3 minutes, add the noodles and combine well. When all of the ingredients are well combined, give the flavoring sauce a stir and pour over the mixture. Continue stirring and tossing 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until the noodles and chives are soft and cooked.

5

Remove from the heat, squeeze 4 lime wedges (1 lime) over the noodles, and mix well to distribute the flavors. Transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately with the remaining lime wedges.

Chinese chives are significantly larger than Western chives, and their flat leaves have a delicate garlic, rather than onion, flavor. In Chinese and Southeast Asian markets, they are typically sold in 1-pound bundles. Vietnamese cooks treat them like a green vegetable, often cooking them with noodles.

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