This pork ramen recipe includes sweet and spicy meatballs and tender veggies flavored with Chinese five spice powder. Make it for dinner in only 30 minutes!
Noodle dishes are popular all over the world. Among other pasta dishes, Italians have spaghetti. Germans have spaetzle, Turks enjoy egg noodles known as erişte, and Americans? Well, there may not be a specific type of noodle that America is known for, but we sure do enjoy eating them!
Asians view noodles differently than most other continents do. For Asians, the noodle is much more than the base of a delicious stir fry or soup.
All Asian noodles, but especially longer ones like ramen, represent a long life.
For this reason, it's considered good luck to eat ramen and other Asian noodle dishes during the Chinese New Year holiday.
Pork Ramen Recipe
Cuisine: Chinese / Asian
This pork ramen recipe starts as a basic veggie stir fry but the flavors of the dish are quickly elevated, The meal includes ramen and sweet and spicy meatballs seasoned with Chinese five spice powder.
Stir Fried and poached (pork meatballs)
Difficulty: Easy 🥄
Chinese five spice seasoned pork meatballs are poached, then stir fried with vegetables and served over ramen noodles.
Ingredient notes and substitutions
For the sweet and sour meatballs
- Ground pork- If you aren't a fan of pork, the sweet and sour flavors of the dish also work well with ground chicken.
If you'd like to skip using meatballs, another option is to use premade meatballs . Or, feel free to slice or dice boneless pork chops to use in your pork ramen.
- Panko breadcrumbs- I like the texture of meatballs made with panko; they tend to hold up better to poaching. If you don't have any panko, regular breadcrumbs are fine.
- Egg- The eggs serve as a binder for the meatball mixture. If you need another option, a flax egg makes a great substitute.
- Chinese five spice powder- My Chinese five spice recipe is very simple to make, and it has a long shelf life, but you can use store bought if you'd like.
For the ramen
- Vegetables- Feel free to use any stir fry veggies you'd like. I use carrot, zucchini, yellow squash, and scallions (green onions). Mushrooms would be a great addition!
- Ramen noodles- You can use dry ramen noodles (without the seasoning packets) if you want. Otherwise, fresh and frozen ramen noodles are both available at most Asian grocery stores.
HOW MUCH RAMEN TO BUY
This pork ramen recipe serves 5 people. If using packages of dry ramen, use 5 or 6 of them. Fresh ramen is usually sold in 1-pound packages, which should be plenty to serve 5 people, unless you want a larger amount of noodles in the stir fry.
Making the pork ramen recipe
This dish comes together really quickly, thanks to the high heat cooking of a wok. If you don't own a wok, that's fine; just use a large, shallow skillet.
Cast iron skillets are a great replacement for a wok!
- Prep the ingredients.
- Make the meatball mixture.
- Poach the pork meatballs.
- Cook the ramen noodles.
- Stir fry the vegetables, then add the sweet and spicy meatballs and ramen.
Tips for making sweet and spicy meatballs
- Preventing dry, tough meatballs
A common mistake when making meatballs is over mixing the ingredients. You want to combine everything together, but working the mixture too much will cause them to be dry and tough. We want juicy sweet and sour meatballs for the best pork ramen!
- Poach, don't boil.
Poaching is a method of gently cooking food in a simmering liquid. When you poach the pork meatballs, be sure that the water isn't boiling. This is another way to ensure that the meat stays juicy.
Although it can take some practice to perfect poaching food, it isn't difficult. There are just a couple of important things to keep in mind when you're making this pork ramen recipe.
- Keep the liquid between 160° and 180° F.
Again, you don't want the liquid to come to a boil. When the poaching liquid reaches the right temperature, there should be a slight shimmer on the surface and you'll see tiny bubbles around the edges of the pan.
- Fully submerge the food under the liquid.
In the photo above, you'll notice that the meatballs are not fully submerged under the surface of the chicken broth. That is NOT how to correctly poach food! I shot the photo that way simply so you could see the meatballs cooking.
To help keep foods fully in the poaching liquid, cover the pan with a sheet of parchment paper.
Pork ramen recipe tips
- Storing and reheating leftovers
Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator and use them within 5 days.
Reheat leftover pork ramen over medium heat on a stovetop, or at 50% power in a microwave. This helps prevent the sweet and spicy meatballs from drying out.
Pork Ramen w/ Sweet and Spicy Meatballs
- 1 lb ground pork
- ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoon ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- ¼ teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 green onions sliced thin
- 1 zucchini sliced thin
- 1 yellow squash sliced thin
- 1 carrot peeled & sliced into matchsticks
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups ramen noodles cooked
- 2 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds garnish
- Mix all meatball ingredients in a bowl and roll into 20 meatballs. Set aside.
- Thinly slice the green onions and vegetables or use a mandolin. Set aside.
- Pour chicken stock in a wok and heat on high. Poach meatballs, 10 at a time, in chicken stock for 4-5 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from wok, set aside and repeat with remaining 10 meatballs. Pour any remaining broth in with cooked meatballs.
- To the wok add the oil and quickly stir fry vegetables for 2 minutes. Season with pinch of kosher salt. Add the noodles, meatballs with remaining broth, tossing to incorporate and cook for 4 minutes until heated through.
- Serve in bowls with a healthy drizzle of hoisin sauce and sesame seeds.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.