Fish sauce, oyster sauce, garlic and black bean sauce and soy sauce (optional for flavour)
Green onion and chilli oil, for garnish
Get a big pot of water under heat on a back burner. At the same time, heat a large skillet to medium. Place the package of ground pork in the skillet. Don’t worry about breaking it up yet - laying it in whole helps it get that crust. (We want that crust.)
While the pork cooks, slice your celery into big thick chunky slices. Flip the pork after about four minutes, looking for that crust, and repeat. If you are taking that extra step, now is a good time to crush your garlic and finely dice your shallots. When both sides of the pork have a nice crust, break it apart and cook through. Remove pork and drain the fat from the pan.
SHOULD YOU WANT EXTRA FLAVOUR, you can do an extra step here. Lower the heat a bit, add finely diced shallots and a few crushed cloves of garlic to the pan, along with a nob of butter and some red pepper flakes. After the shallots get translucent, pour in some fish sauce, oyster sauce, or a crushed anchovy. If there’s a lot of brown on the bottom of the pan, deglaze with whatever you have around: white wine, white vermouth, vegetable or chicken stock, and even a splash of beer or water would do just as well.
Add the celery and let it cook for a few minutes. But not too long, we want it to have a little bite. Add in a can of rinsed black beans. Stir together and let cook for a few minutes, then add in the pork. Now we get saucy: add in two big whacks of the black bean and garlic paste, a good glug of oyster sauce. Stir together. The house is smelling pretty good right now.
The water on the back burner should be boiling. Drop-in four packages of Udon noodles. After about a minute or two they should come loose. When the noodles are loose, transfer them into the skillet with a spider. If a little water comes along, that just helps with the sauce.
Take a taste, and should you desire, this is a great time to give another glug of that oyster sauce. Stir everything in the pan, so the noodles are coated and have absorbed a lot of that deep flavour. And what the hell, why not give a few dashes of soya sauce because this can’t have too much salt or too much umami.