Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Stir fried rice noodles with stir fried chicken and broccoli

I love eating all kinds of noodles. My favorite is Hokkien noodles, which I used to eat in Singapore. The Prima Taste brand is the best and is available online in the US. But this time I cooked rice noodles since they are really quick to cook (actually they require no cooking) and lighter to eat during the summer months. Combined with loads of vegetables and a medley of sauces, it is great to feed a crowd. Also makes for good picnic fare. The recipe below uses different sauces and oils to balance the sweet, salty and umami flavors of the dish.

A large wok and high heat are key to making a good stir fry. Another important tip to remember is to evenly cut the vegetables into thin pieces to allow for quick cooking as well as for the vegetable to retain their crisp texture . You can use any combination of soft and hard vegetables in a stir fry. If you use only hard vegetables, the dish will be dry since the vegetables will not release much moisture. However, it can be done by compensating with more oil and sauces.

Stir fry recipes look intimidating at first due to the long list of ingredients, but then again we are cooking for a crowd - once you have everything prepped, cooking is a breeze. Hence it is a great dish for entertaining, which can be prepared while your guests are chatting.

Stir fried rice noodles
12 oz rice noodle sticks (also known as rice vermicelli)
3 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 cup finely chopped red onions
8 oz sliced button mushrooms
2 cup broccoli florets cut lengthwise into half or thirds depending on the size of the florets
2 carrots cut into thin long strips or shredded
8 oz pencil asparagus, woody ends removed and cut into 1 inch pieces
One large green bell pepper, cut into thin long strips
1 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
4 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (easily available in a chinese grocery store or use dry sherry)
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 tablespoon low sodium tamari sauce (substitute with low sodium soy sauce if necessary)
1 tablespoon regular soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon chili oil

1. Soak the rice noodles in boiling hot water for 3 to 5 minutes - each brand may have a different time. Drain and set aside. Cut the noodles into 3 inch lengths with kitchen shears - this will make it easier toss as well as eat.

2. Heat a large wok over high heat with canola oil. Add the onion and then the garlic and saute till the onion is light brown around the edges. Add the chili flakes if using and saute for another 20 seconds.

3. While the onions are being sauteed, blanch the broccoli and asparagus is salted boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes to retain their color as well as hasten the stir frying process.

4. Add the sliced mushrooms and continue to cook over high heat till they have a golden brown color. Now add the blanched asparagus and broccoli and toss with the mushroom mixture. Add 1 teaspoon salt and rice wine and cook over medium heat till the wine evaporates.

5.  Add the bell pepper and carrots and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the hoisin sauce, tamari, soy sauce, sesame oil, chili oil and the drained noodles. Toss well and cook for 5 to 7 minutes to allow all the flavors to attach to the noodles. Taste for seasoning and determine whether the second teaspoon of salt is required. Serve hot.

Serves 4 - 6

I had some leftover noodles from the night before - not enough for one person and some steamed rice as well. I made a chicken and broccoli stir fry to add to the noodles and rice for a quick lunch. It was really tasty.

Stir fried chicken with broccoli
3 organic chicken tenders, dried and thinly sliced
Marinade for chicken
2 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame chili oil
2 teaspoon rice wine
Marinate the chicken for atleast one hour in the refrigerator

1 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
3 scallions chopped, white and light green parts only
1/2 tablespoon, peeled and grated fresh ginger

1 cup broccoli florets
2 teaspoon rice wine

Sauce ingredients
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon corn starch
1/3 cup water

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 10 inch saute pan. Add the chicken pieces in a single layer. Do not flip till the first side gets a good sear - they should be a light brown. Flip and let the other side cook for a couple of minutes. Remove and set aside.

2. In the meantime, blanch the broccoli florets in salted boiling water till they are crisp tender. Drain and set aside. Mix the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and set aside as well. Stir before adding to the pan.

3. In the same skillet as you cooked the chicken, add 1/2 tablespoon oil and saute the scallions and grated ginger for a couple of minutes. Add the broccoli and rice wine and saute for 2 more minutes. Add the chicken and the reserved sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer till the sauce has thickened to the desired consistency. If you are eating it with rice, you may like to leave a little more sauce than if you were eating it with noodles.

Serves 1

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