We call it Chinese Spaghetti

‘What does everyone want for dinner?’ A question I ask my family when we’re all together and staying in for the night. Usually the response will be for a family favourite, something that I’ve made many times before, a big dish that’s placed in the middle of the table, to be enjoyed with enough for second helpings, that’s not tricky or trendy, but evokes memories of good times spent together as a family.

  • A lot of what I prepare at home has come about because I love to cook and experiment with different flavours and cuisines. It would be foolish not to try something, at least once I think. So, that’s how this recipe came about, one cold Sunday night many years ago, when the Bolognese sauce I was going to make, suddenly took a left turn and became what my family christened, ‘Chinese Spaghetti’

I started with a base of ginger, garlic, turmeric, coriander seed and onions, and then added minced pork and veal. Spicy black bean chilli sauce, more black beans and tinned crushed tomatoes were added, and then I left it to simmer until tender. Next I finished it off with a generous squeeze of fresh lime juice, and a few drops of sesame oil, tossed it through fresh noodles, and served it and a handful of aromatic herbs, and extra chillies on the side.

I never tire of this dish, it’s something I make over and over, but changes slightly in flavour each time, only because of the brand of black bean chilli sauce I use, and which herbs I throw on at the end. And yet its character remains the same. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

This makes enough for around 8 people, I hold back half of the sauce for another time, and depending on the spiciness of the black bean chilli paste, you may need to reduce the amount, or add a little more.

Spicy Pork Veal and Black Bean Ragù

Serves 4-5

  • 1 kilo pork/veal mince
  • 2tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 brown onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4cm piece ginger, minced
  • 4cm piece turmeric, minced
  • 2tsp coriander seed, roasted and crushed
  • ¾ cup black bean chilli paste (taste first before using, if very spicy, use less)
  • 1x400g tin black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup Shao Hsing wine
  • 2x400g tins crushed tomatoes
  •  Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2tsp sesame oil

To serve:

  • 500g fresh noodles of your choice
  • 1-2 small hot red chillies, seeds removed and sliced
  • Spring onions, sliced
  • Wedges of fresh limes
  • One to two handfuls of fresh herbs. For example- mint, coriander, thai basil, dill, vietnamese mint, parsley.

In a large fry pan over a medium heat cook the onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric and coriander seed in the coconut oil until fragrant and soft. Add the minced pork and veal and cook, breaking it up until browned. Add the black bean chilli paste, and the tinned black beans and cook for 2-3 minutes, crushing the beans roughly. Pour in the Shao Hsing wine, let bubble away for a minute or so, and add the crushed tomatoes and 1 can of water. Season well with salt and pepper, turn down the heat to low, and cook for approximately 1.5 hours, or until liquid is reduced, and meat is tender. Taste for seasoning, drizzle over sesame oil, and serve half of the sauce on noodles with limes, chillies, spring onions, and fresh herbs.