Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pan-Fried Noodles

It's no secret that I'm Chinese, right? I do get the random person every now and then asking me if I cook Chinese food. The short answer is no.

Growing up my family did take us out for Chinese food. And I remember the place we always went to was a little mom and pop shop called "The Great Wall." Served family style, my parents always ordered a meat dish and the pan-fried noodles. While, I wasn't super keen on what they ordered (I always ordered a plate of potstickers, and that was my dinner), I did love the pan-fried noodles. Something about the crispy noodles and sauce that eventually got soaked into the noodles, just appealed to my little-kid palate.

So, anytime I went to a Chinese restaurant, whether it was in college or afterwards, I always looked for pan-fried noodles. The closest I'd get was usually the lo mein, which satisfied my noodle sauce craving.

But one day, Wes's boss suggested we try an Asian restaurant. Asian. Not Chinese. This place has all sorts of Asian cuisine from sushi to thai-type food. Lo and behold I spied amongst their vast menu, pan fried noodles. Well, I had to give it a try. And it was delicious. Just as I remembered it as a kid. I loved it. Granted, eating out is not always a great option and I'm too lazy sometimes to take the drive all the way up to the restaurant and wait to order the food. So I searched for a recipe online. Luckily I found one. And it does not disappoint.

Hong Kong Style Pan Fried Noodles (based on sugarlens'recipe)
serves 4

1 (16 oz.) package Hong Kong style noodles (I found these in the refrigerated aisle at the Asian grocery store)
2 small chicken breasts, sliced thinly
1 small onion, sliced thinly
2 cups broccoli, chopped
2/3 cup sliced mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons corn starch
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons oyster sauce

2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 cup water
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of cooking wine

1 tablespoon of corn starch
1 tablespoon of water

Add oil to a heated pan. Add noodles. The noodles should brown very quickly. Use a pair of chopsticks or a spatula to make sure the noodles are getting browned evenly. If you need to, use the spatula to press the noodles against the pan or add some more cooking oil to make sure you brown most of the noodles. Plate the noodles and set aside.

Mix together the ingredients for the marinade and add the sliced chicken. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the ingredients for Sauce. In a smaller bowl, combine corn starch and water. Set aside.

Add oil to a heated pan and saute garlic and broccoli for about 3 minutes or until garlic is starting to turn brown. Add a half cup of water and cover to let the broccoli finish cooking by steaming. After 5 minutes, remove cover and check to see if the broccoli is done. Salt to taste and dish out.

Add oil to a heated pan and cook onions, mushrooms, and chicken until done. Add broccoli back to the pan. Stir well. Add the Sauce mixture. Bring it to a boil.

Add the corn starch mixture and give a quick stir. Bring it to a boil.

Pour gravy on top of the noodles. Serve immediately!

I, of course, used whatever veggies I want. Usually there are green beans, water chestnuts and all sorts of other veggies in this dish. But carrots and broccoli work just fine for us. The protein is interchangeable too. Shrimp or beef would work equally well. The recipe looks labor intensive, but it's really not. It's just more mixing of multiple sauces and marinades that make it look hard.

My favorite part about this dish? When the sauce (or gravy as the recipe calls it) soaks into the noodles and softens them up. So there's a little bit of crunch, but a little bit of soft noodle that is coated in sauce. It makes my mouth water just writing about it.

If you can't find Hong Kong noodles the recipe calls for, plain spaghetti would work just fine. There's no specific texture to these noodles that requires a special pasta. But I did find a suitable noodle in the Asian section of the grocery store.

This is the one Chinese dish I can say I do cook. Traditional or not. It takes me back to my childhood and that's one of the best things.

1 comment:

  1. Did they try to speak Chinese to you at the Asian grocery store? :)