Occasionally I get a hankering for a meal with sesame oil, soy sauce, chilies, and noodles. When I read this recipe in the current issue of Saveur, I had to make it. The article calls these everyday fried noodles or tian tian chao mian. The carrots & onions are quickly cooked so as to soften rather than overcook; the ginger and garlic infuse the oil; and the napa cabbage and cucumbers give the necessary crunch. Soy sauce & rice wine are requirements of Chinese cooking and once sugar is added create a sweet & salty sauce. I like to drizzle more sesame oil over the noodles moments before digging in. These noodles make excellent leftovers -- just reheat with a little water or chicken stock to get things moving around the pan.
Note: I don't own a wok as the original recipe calls for this piece of equipment. Instead I used a large stainless steel skillet -- it worked out just fine.
Everyday Fried Noodles
adapted from Saveur May 2010
serves 2-3 (or one person with leftovers)
1/2 small seedless cucumber, peeled & julienned
Kosher salt, to taste
3 tbsp oil (canola or vegetable)
1/2 small carrot, julienned
1/4 - 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/4 pound (4 ounces) ground pork (or omit for a vegetarian dish)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Red pepper flakes, to taste
1 1" piece ginger, minced
1 1/2 tbsp. dark soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp. rice wine
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 cup Napa cabbage, shredded
5 ounces dried flat noodles, boiled & rinsed under cold water
1 tbsp sesame oil (plus more to serve)
Combine the cucumbers with a pinch of salt and let sit in a small bowl for 5 minutes.
Heat a large stainless steel skillet over high heat; add 1 tbsp oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Add the carrots and onions and cook for 1 minute till softened. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Return the skillet to high heat and add remaining 2 tbsp oil. Add pork, garlic, red chili flakes (if using), and ginger. Cook until pork is browned and aromats are fragrant.
Add soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, carrots, and onions. Cook until vegetables are hot.
Add cabbage, cucumbers, noodles, and sesame oil. Toss until hot. Season with salt if needed. Serve with a drizzle of sesame oil.