What was your first taste of miso growing up? For me it was miso soup. That little bowl of soup with 1 or 2 chunks of tofu in it that was served before any sushi meal. For the longest time, I had no idea that miso was actually fermented soy bean paste. For me at the time, whatever it was, it was addictive. I don’t know if it was the salt, or the punch in the mouth of flavour, but I always look forward to it. My Miso Pork and Asian Ginger Zoodle dish is no different.
How does one use miso? Well commonly it is used in soups, sauces, and marinades, but you can use it almost any way you like. OK, I wouldn’t go so far as to put it in my bullet proof coffee, but it is worth experimenting with. In this recipe, I lightly coat a pork belly with it and use it as a sticky base for sesame seeds. The key is to be mindful of the saltiness. Less is more when it comes to miso. Be wary of the amount of salt you use in the rest of the dish, as it can quickly become too much with miso added on top.
The other great part of this dish is the ginger zoodles. Zoodles are spiralized zucchini noodles. If you don’t own a spiralizer, I recommend you look into getting one. Changed my life. It’s like eating pasta, but it is vegetables. It’s not exactly the same as their floury counterparts, but it is close enough that you will enjoy it just the same. That is what sold me. I love flour noodles whether it’s wheat flour or rice flour. I can eat a big bowl of noodles without batting an eyelash. So the Paleo diet was hard for me until I discovered spiralized zucchini. They take the sauce and flavour almost as well as a wheat/rice noodle, and you eat them in the same manner.
To counter the sweetness of the mirin in the zoodles, I used some pickled carrots. They were simply julienned first, then soaked in rice wine vinegar. It’s all about balance folks. And who doesn’t like pickled carrots!?!!
The discussion of protein is something I should have started with as opposed to tucking in here at the bottom, but I feel that if you get this far, you are pretty committed to making this dish. Some of you may have figured this out by the pics, but that lovely chunk of pork in the pics is actually pork belly. Yeah, pork belly. Uncured and unsmoked bacon (well the process of curing and smoking is what makes it bacon, but you know what I mean).
If you’ve had pork belly, you know how tough it is. So why would I serve a tough protein on top of such a beautiful zoodle dish? Well, the easy answer is that I slow cooked it. I have a sous vide machine that helps me work magic. A slow cooker or pressure cooker can work the same magic.
That said, I understand we don’t all have those utensils, nor are we all experienced cooks in using them, so let’s make this easy enough for everyone to enjoy. Use pork chop, pork tenderloin, pork loin, a small pork rib roast, basically any tender cut of pork you like. The key is to cook it to your liking, slather on a little coating of miso on two of the sides, and roll it in toasted sesame seeds.
If you want to do the pork belly, have at it. I loved it and it is a cheap cut of meat. If you don’t feel confident in cooking the belly to a tender consistency, then go with any of those other cuts. The pork doesn’t make the dish here so you are safe with what you are comfortable with.
So let’s get in the fridge and get started on this!!! That pork isn’t going to cook itself. Try, like, comment, and share. It’s all I ask.Print
Miso Sesame Pork on Asian Ginger Zoodles
- Prep Time: 1 Hour
- Cook Time: 45 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Yield: 2 Servings
- 1 lb-1.5lb pork
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 5 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp mirin (can sub with 1 tbsp water)
- 3 tbsp miso paste
- 1 cup grated carrots (julienned)
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 tbsp Lime juice
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp chopped Thai basil
- 1 tbsp ginger
- 1/4 chopped spring onion
- 2 tbsp mirin (can sub 2 tbsp water mixed with 1/2 tsp sugar)
- 4 cups zoodles (1 med zucchini)
- Place your choice of pork cut in a bag (can be tenderloin, pork loin, pork chop, pork belly, etc.).
- Mix marinade ingredients and place in the bag with the pork.
- Let sit in the fridge overnight if you are not cooking with a sous-vide setup. If you are cooking sous-vide, put the pork and marinade in the heated water bath to the recommended temp for the time you plan to cook (this is well documented on the web or in the sous vide app) and let cook for 6-7hrs. I suggest using a sous-vide setup for pork belly as it can be tough and the sous-vide cook will help break the meat down. You could also place it in a slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours or in a pressure cooker for 30 minutes. The other cuts of pork are already tender and don’t need this long cook time.
- While pork is cooking(if using slow cooker, pressure cooker, or sous-vide), julienne the carrots with a knife, spiralizer, or julienne grater.
- Mix the rice wine vinegar with the salt and add to the julienned carrots. Toss to coat and set aside for 15mins.
- Quarter the cherry tomatoes.
- Mix the lime juice, olive oil, and chopped Thai basil and pour over the quartered tomatoes.
- Mix until well combined and set aside.
- “Zoodle” the zucchini in whatever form of zoodler you have.
- Chop the spring onion and mince the ginger.
- Combine the spring onion, ginger, and mirin and mix well.
- Cook the pork on the BBQ or sear in a hot pan until done. This applies to the other methods used above as well as with he raw more tender cuts. You ideally want a seared outer crust and cooked to perfection interior.
- Let the pork rest (5-10 minutes).
- Heat a skillet and sauté the zucchini noodles for 3-4 minutes until just cooked and limp.
- Remove from heat and mix in the spring onion, ginger, and mirin.
- Grab the pork and spread the miso paste in a thin layer on all side of the pork.
- Sprinkle sesame seeds on a small plate or baking tin until the bottom is covered.
- Roll the pork in the sesame seeds until the stick to the miso paste on all sides.
- You can toast the pork again at this point if you want to brown up the sesame seeds. I used toasted sesame seeds so skipped this part.
- Slice the pork into 1/4 inch slices. Cut on a bias if you can. If not, doesn’t matter. People are going to gobble it up anyway!
- Plate the dish by placing the zoodles on the bottom, julienned carrots on top, sliced pork on top of the carrots and tomatoes over or around the pork.
- You can sub any cut of pork you like for the pork belly. Belly is tough and requires a long cook time unless you want to use the pressure cooker.