These XO noodles with pork are salty, spicy, and super luxe, thanks to a few heaping spoonfuls of XO sauce. It’s an easy pork noodle recipe you’ll want in your regular rotation.
I already wrote about the magic of XO sauce in the recipe I posted for lobster noodles. Since I still had a jar from that recipe, I decided to work my way through every last drop.
This recipe follows many of the same ingredients and flavor profiles. XO sauce and pork are already quite a popular combination (for good reason). For this noodle recipe, I wanted to create a recipe where I fry pork until it’s extra crispy and browned. The richness of the pork and the texture of those crispy edges pairs so well with the salty, umami XO sauce.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this XO noodles with pork recipe:
- Ground pork: Use any ground meat that you like, such as beef, chicken, or turkey. Tofu crumbles would also be delicious.
- Vegetables: Shredded cabbage, grated carrots, and shiitake mushrooms. Try it with small broccoli florets or sugar snap peas!
- Aromatics: Shallot, garlic, ginger, Thai chili peppers, and minced scallions. If you don’t have one of those ingredients, don’t fret! Just omit it.
- Sauce: Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, XO sauce, sesame oil, and a nip of sugar are all you need for a luxe, delicious sauce that you won’t be able to get enough of.
The XO Sauce:
If you didn’t read my post about the lobster noodles, I’ll give you a quick recap on XO sauce.
- The sauce was developed in the 1980s in Hong Kong.
- The name XO Sauce comes from XO (extra-old) Cognac, though the sauce contains no cognac at all. XO Cognac–a popular liquor in Hong Kong–shortened to just XO was used to denote luxury and prestige, particularly in reference to the expensive ingredients.
- It’s made from chopped, dried seafood–scallops, shrimp, and fish–as well as chilies, onions, and garlic.
- Even though scallops, fish, and shrimp are the base of this sauce, you need not limit yourself to using this with fish or seafood dishes. It pairs perfectly with chicken, beef, tofu, or pork, like this recipe!
- If you can’t find XO sauce from your local grocer, you can find it online.
How to make XO noodles with pork:
There are a few steps to the recipe. Like with most stir-fries, the most crucial step is preparing your mise en place. Ingredients cook on high heat and very quickly, so you want to have everything prepped and ready to go.
Once your prep work is done, it’s time to begin cooking! I’ve outlined the basic steps of the recipe below the gallery.
The recipe steps:
- Step 1: Prep, prep, prep! Get everything sliced, diced, shredded, and otherwise ready to go! Do not even think about beginning the recipe until all the ingredients are prepped, or else I’m coming after you.
- Step 2: Fry the pork! Another thing, don’t even dare take it off the heat before you have lots of those crispy bits. Let it go a little longer than you expect. You’ll thank me. Once the pork is crispy, shower it with Shaoxing wine, a little sugar, and soy sauce. That’ll lift up any stuck-on bits and caramelize the pork further.
- Step 3: Make the noodles while the pork cooks.
- Step 4: Take the pork from the skillet and work on the other ingredients in batches. First, the aromatics and then into the bowl of pork they go. Next, the mushrooms. Into the bowl of pork, they go. Last, the cabbage and carrots, and guess what? Into the bowl of pork, they go.
- Step 5: Now, make your sauce. Sesame oil, XO sauce, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and stock all go into the skillet, where they simmer for a few minutes. Make a cornstarch slurry, whisk it in, and simmer until nice and thick.
- Step 6: Finish it up! Toss the noodles in the sauce, pile the pork and vegetables on top, and toss to combine. I like reserving a few spoonfuls of fried pork and cabbage to garnish each plate with a little extra. I just think it looks pretty.
That’s it! It’s a 6 step recipe, but I promise you: the finished dish is totally worth the effort.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did. If you make it, please drop a comment to let me know what you thought! If you’re looking for more pork recipes, be sure to check my archives by clicking the link below.
XO Noodles with Pork
- Large skillet or wok
- Large pot
- 1 pound ground pork
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 12 ounces chow mein or lo mein noodles
- 1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1- inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
- 3 Thai chili peppers, trimmed and minced
- 4 scallions, trimmed and minced
- 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, caps thinly sliced; stems discarded or saved or stock
- 4 cups shredded Napa cabbage, cored and shredded
- 2 cups grated carrots
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 heaping tablespoons XO sauce
- ½ cup water or chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Crispy shallots, optional, for garnish
- 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced into long slivers, optional, for garnish
- Neutral oil, as needed
Brown the pork:
- Turn the heat on a skillet to medium-high. Add the pork and cook, breaking it up as it cooks, for 12–15 minutes until nicely browned. Continue cooking until the pork deepens in color and crisps up around the edges. You want crispy bits!
- Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet.
- Mix together 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine, and sugar. Pour the mixture into the pork. Bring to a boil and cook for 2–3 minutes, lifting up anything stuck to the bottom. Transfer the pork to a large bowl.
Cook the noodles:
- While the pork browns, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the noodles according to the package instructions. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
Cook the aromatics:
- Keep the heat on the skillet at medium-high. Add the shallot, garlic, ginger, Thai chili peppers, and minced scallions. Sauté for 1–2 minutes until fragrant. Transfer to the bowl of pork.
Cook the mushrooms:
- If needed, add a touch of oil. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and sauté them for 5–6 minutes over medium-high heat. Be careful with shiitakes. They have a lower water content than other mushrooms and can dry out very quickly! Once lightly golden brown, transfer the mushrooms to the bowl of pork.
Cook the cabbage and carrots:
- Add the cabbage and carrots (in batches, if needed) to the skillet. Sauté over medium-high heat until the cabbage wilts and the carrots soften about 5–6 minutes. Season lightly with salt. Transfer the cabbage and carrots to the bowl of pork.
Prepare the sauce:
- Add 2 teaspoons of sesame oil to the skillet. Add the XO sauce and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the water, soy sauce, and Shaoxing wine. Bring to a boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Scoop out a tablespoon or so of the sauce. Whisk it together with the cornstarch until a slurry forms.
- Return the cornstarch mixture to the sauce and stir to incorporate. Continue simmering for 3–5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. If you like saucier noodles, add more water, soy sauce, and Shaoxing wine in 3:1:1 proportions. You may need more cornstarch to thicken it if you add more liquid. You can also add more XO sauce for an even richer sauce.
Finish the noodles:
- Add the noodles to the skillet along with all but a few tablespoons of the pork mixture. Toss to combine over low heat until the noodles are warmed through, about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Don’t let them cook on the heat too long! Turn off the heat.
- Divide the noodles between shallow bowls. Spoon a bit more of the pork and veggie mixture on each dish. Garnish with thinly sliced scallions and crispy shallots if you like. Enjoy!