Monday, September 14, 2009
My Venture into Crispy Noodles
Chow Mein. Americans normally pronounce it like "Chow Main" but it more correctly pronounced "Chow Mee-on" in Mandarin Chinese and is translated as fried noodles. In Hong Kong, it is typically made with noodles that are thin and crispy. In other areas of China, it is made with larger, spaghetti-size noodles, which are served soft. I love either preparation!
This recipe is certainly not authentic but it is still good nevertheless. I use good, 'ol Ramen Noodles as a bed for some crunchy veggies. The noodles are boiled like normal then fried like hash browns in a skillet with a little oil to make them crispy on the outside. I get chicken and veggies from a salad bar and quickly cook them in a soy-sauce based concoction and serve the veggies on top of the sauted Ramen Noodles. This is one of those dishes I made in college when I wanted something cheap, quick, and easy-to-make. Today just happened to be one of those days! I needed something quick to make for dinner and the veggies on the salad bar looked particularly fresh so I decided to make my Easy Chow Mein and share the recipe with you all. Enjoy – and Happy Chowing!
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Easy Chow Mein
1 package of Chicken-flavored Ramen Noodles
3 cups water
1/2 TBSP butter
1 1/2 TBSP vegetable or peanut oil, divided use
2 cups of chicken and vegetables from the salad bar (such as scallions, bell peppers, mushrooms, snow pea pods, bean sprouts, carrots, water chestnuts, baby spinach – whatever you like!)
1/2 TBSP cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 TBSP soy sauce
1/2 TBSP rice vinegar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp grated fresh ginger
Pinch red pepper flakes
Whisk the cornstarch and water together until the cornstarch has dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk to combine.
Add three cups of water to a small sauce pan and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. When the water comes to a boil, start heating a small skillet on a separate burner over medium heat. Add the ramen noodles (but not the seasoning packet) to the boiling water. Cook the noodles for 3 minutes. Turn off that burner momentarily, drain the noodles, and return them to the hot sauce pan. Add 1/2 tablespoon of butter and the ramen seasoning packet to the noodles and stir to combine.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil to the small skillet that has been heating. As soon as the oil is hot, dump the noodles into the skillet and flatten them into a layer about 1/3" to 1/2" thick. Cook the noodles for about 4 minutes or until they are brown and crispy on one side. Flip the pancake of noodles and add 1/2 tablespoon of oil around the edges of the pan and swirl the pan a little bit to allow the bottom of the noodles to get coated in the oil.
Meanwhile, wipe out the sauce pan with a paper towel and return it to its original burner and turn the heat up to medium-high. Add 1/2 tablespoon to the saucepan and allow it to get hot.
When the noodles are nearly done, add the chicken and thicker veggies (such as chunks of carrots, bell peppers, etc) to the hot sauce pan. The veggies may sizzle and pop so be careful. Stir-fry the chicken and veggies for about 30 seconds. Re-stir the sauce because the cornstarch may have settled to the bottom. Add the remaining veggies and sauce to the sauce pan and allow the sauce to come to a boil and thicken – which should happen in only seconds. Stir the chicken and veggies to coat them well. As you will see, there will be no excess sauce to make your noodles soggy. Slide the noodles onto a plate and pour the chicken and veggies on top of the noodles. If cooked properly, the vegetable should still be very crispy. Serves two (or one if you're really hungry).
Posted by Cooking Ventures at 6:13 AM