About a month or so ago, I was shopping at World Market and found this cute package of Hong Kong Style Egg Noodles. I don’t know what makes them “Hong Kong Style,” but because I love noodles of all shapes and sizes and because they were reasonably priced, I couldn’t resist. These are sweet little nests of very fine noodles. I love shopping at World Market – I’m always surprised by something newly stocked in the international food aisles. My pantry and my daughter’s pantry are filled with many irresistible finds, but that’s another story.
Yesterday, I told Richard that I felt like we’d been eating pretty heavy over the past several days: lasagna, pizza, ribs, quinoa mac ‘n cheese, that I was in the mood for something a little lighter. This is my world means no meat, no cheese, and lots of veggies. Usually I make a dish to serve over rice, but then I remembered my pretty egg noodles; enter Vegetable Chow Mein.
This is an incredibly easy and very quick dish to prepare. Maybe 30-40 minutes, depending on how handy you are with a knife. And it’s my kind of recipe. I can rummage through the refrigerator looking for errant pieces of this and that to throw into the mix. No rhyme or reason. Just use what you have on hand.
Carrots, mushrooms, red bell pepper, onions and garlic. Nothing wrong with that. Oh, and some leftover shredded cabbage, too. Thinly slice the veggies, so they cook quickly. As I was thinking about what else I could throw in, it occurred to me that a handful of frozen snap peas would be good. Alas, a gray-haired moment – as soon as I thought of it, I forgot to retrieve them from the freezer. Oh well . . .
This sauce is spectacular! It flavors the noodles and vegetables perfectly, but not overwhelmingly so. There’s a bit of heat with the addition of Asian garlic chili paste, so if you’re making the chow mein for children or someone sensitive to the heat, you could substitute black bean garlic paste, or maybe some hoisin sauce to give a sweet, barbecue flavor.
I used half the package of noodles. There was plenty for both of us with more leftover for lunch. See how cute they are?? Once the water comes to a boil, the noodles are cooked in 3 minutes. Drain them, return to the pot, coat with 1-2 tablespoons of canola oil, and set aside while the vegetables are stir fried. The noodles are a little firmer than I expected, cooked, but definitely al denté. If you can’t find cute Hong Kong Style Noodles, you can substitute vermicelli or angel hair pasta. Under cook the pasta for a minute or so, so the noodles don’t get mushy and sticky.
Now, the vegetables are chopped, the chili sauce is made, and the noodles are cooked. Time to stir fry!
In a wok or a large saute skillet over medium-high, heat 1-2 tablespoons of canola or vegetable oil. You could also use coconut oil or peanut oil, too – they have a higher smoke point. Add one Tablespoon of ginger garlic paste, and briefly stir fry.
Then start adding vegetables:
Carrots and onions first – cook for 2-3 minutes, until the carrots begin to soften.
Add the garlic and mushrooms – stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
Add the red peppers – stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
Add the shredded cabbage – stir fry for 2-3 minutes, until the cabbage begins to soften.
Violà! Your veggies are cooked!
Add the noodles. Using tongs, evenly distribute the veggies and noodles. I wish I could cook with chop sticks, but it’s not a skill I’ve at all mastered. If you can, that would be fun.
Add the chili sauce mixture, and toss to coat everything.
Serve on individual plates or on a platter. Top with chopped green onions. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. And there you have it! 食べて来る (Tabete kuru) (That’s supposed to mean “come eat” in Japanese – I sure hope that’s what it says . . .)
- ½ pound Hong Kong Style Egg Noodles, or substitute vermicelli or angel hair pasta
- 1 medium onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
- 2 medium carrots, cut in half and into thin strips
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
- ½ small cabbage, shredded, or substitute one package of cole slaw mix
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon ginger garlic paste
- Sliced green onions for garnish
- Sesame seeds for garnish
- For the sauce:
- 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon mirin, or dry sherry
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons garlic chili paste
- 2 Tablespoons water
- Bring water to boil in a 5-quart pot. Add two teaspoons salt. Add noodles or pasta, and cook according to package directions. Drain. Return noodles to the pot. Coat with 1-2 Tablespoons vegetable or canola oil. Set aside.
- Make the sauce. Add soy sauce, white wine vinegar, mirin or sherry, sugar, garlic chili paste. Stir until blended. Set aside.
- Prepare the vegetables. Set aside.
- In a wok or large skillet, heat 1-2 Tablespoons oil over medium-high heat.
- Add one tablespoon ginger garlic paste. Briefly stir fry.
- Add the onions and carrots. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes, until the carrots begin to soften.
- Add mushrooms and garlic. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Add red peppers. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
- Add shredded cabbage. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
- Add cooked noodles. Using tongs, evenly distribute the noodles and vegetables. Stir fry everything until the dish is warmed through.
- Add the sauce. Using tongs, coat the noodles and vegetables.
- Remove to individual serving plates or to a platter. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.
Please Note: This recipe calls for two different kinds of cooking pastes, garlic chili paste, and ginger garlic paste. I didn't have ginger garlic paste, so substituted black bean paste.
If you're cooking for children or someone sensitive to hot chilies, you could substitute more garlic ginger paste, or hoisin sauce for a sweet barbecue flavor.