Curried pork noodles: 58 cents/serving

Noodles and pork in a sweet, salty, garlicky, spicy sauce: What’s not to love? It makes a ton, it only takes 10 minutes, and curry-haters (I don’t personally know of any, but like Bigfoot, they’re probably out there somewhere) may not even know there’s curry in it. It may be the dominant color, but it’s far from the dominant flavor.

Rice vermicelli may be hard to find for those who don’t have access to an Asian market, so angel hair could probably be used in a pinch. Ground turkey or chicken could also be substituted for the pork.

This makes 4 good-sized servings.

12 oz. ground pork: $1.46
1/3 of a 49-cent bunch of cilantro, leaves chopped: 16 cents
2 T fish sauce: 7 cents
2 T curry powder: 18 cents
1/2 T brown sugar: 3 cents
1 tsp sriracha: 5 cents
4 garlic cloves, chopped*: 8 cents
8 oz. rice vermicelli (Asian market): 25 cents
1 T vegetable oil: 3 cents
TOTAL: $2.31/4 = 58 cents

*Unless I’m adding garlic later in a cooking process, I never put garlic cloves through the garlic press; they’re much more susceptible to bitter off-flavors and burning.

Start the water boiling for the noodles. If you’re using particularly delicate, starchy noodles, use a stockpot and twice as much water as you normally would so the starch can dilute.

Mix the fish sauce, curry powder, brown sugar, and sriracha in a small container. (Feel free to add more of any ingredient to taste.) Heat the oil in a skillet or sauté pan over medium heat and add the garlic; cook until fragrant. Add the pork, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and cook until no longer pink.

The noodle water should be boiling by now. Cook per package directions until just al dente; drain—save about 1/3 cup of the starchy cooking water—and rinse well under cold water.

Add the noodles and sauce to the pork mixture, stir well until heated through. Add cooking water, a little at a time, to loosen the mixture and keep the noodles from drying out. Once the noodles are hot and fully cooked (and yellow), add the cilantro and serve.

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