Ever since I was a kid, I've always loved "liang mian huang," the (literally) "two-faced" pan-fried noodle dish that you see at every Cantonese restaurant. Although the sauce-drenched center of the noodle "cake" usually had more flavor, I always opted for the crunchy, edge pieces.
I was thrilled when I discovered a recipe for this exact dish in A Spoonful of Ginger, a multiple award-winning Chinese cookbook by Nina Simonds.
Nina Simonds is a dear family friend and I've known her for as long as I can remember. She's also a wildly successful cookbook author, having won multiple awards (James Beard Foundation Book Award, IACP Cookbook Award just to name a few) and named in Newsweek Magazine as one of "America's Top 25 Asian Hands."
Nina has studied cooking extensively in Asia. Her cookbooks take classic Asian recipes and adapt them in a way that's simple, delicious, and suitable for the Western kitchen (and often Western supermarkets!).
I had never considered making golden pan-fried noodles myself at home. I always assumed I needed some hot wok or some fryer or something (nothing a tiny kitchen would have!). Nina has adapted the traditional Chinese method for the Western kitchen by making use of the broiler function of an oven.
First, boil some thin egg noodles (I used ultra thin angel hair pasta, which worked great). After draining the pasta, toss in sesame oil and safflower oil, and then broil for about 10 minutes.
Flip over (this was the hardest part!) and then broil the other side for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. You can then leave the noodles in the oven on warm until your are ready with the rest of your dish.
Saute chicken briefly in a hot wok until it is no longer raw. Set chicken aside.
Clean the wok and then saute the aromatics (onions, garlic, and ginger) followed by the vegetables (in this case, snap peas).
Once everything is cooked, add back in the chicken, add the premixed "sauce" (oyster sauce, broth, wine, etc), and then toss to combine.
Throw all this on top of the crispy noodles and serve!
What dramatic presentation!
I like this particular recipe because it teaches a core technique that you can apply to a wide range of dishes. In the book, Nina briefly discusses how she loves cooking this dish during the winter because the dish is very "warming" (this book is focused on the Chinese concept of ying and yang [warm and cool] and how it applies to food). In the summer, however, she will substitute the beef with chicken or seafood and add many more vegetables.
I am thrilled to tell you about an exciting giveaway! In celebration of the re-release of her popular award-winning cookbook, A Spoonful of Ginger, Nina is hosting a giveaway contest where she's giving away TEN Chinese cooking starter kits! Better yet, she's promised to give away an additional FIVE starter kits specially to Tiny Urban Kitchen readers!
This kit is loaded with tons of useful supplies for someone who's just getting started with Chinese cooking.
- A 14-inch rolled steel, heavy-gauge wok with wooden handles
- A dome lid that fits perfectly in the wok, transforming it into a steamer or braising pan (not pictured)
- A Chinese shovel that is designed to conform to the sides of the wok, making tossing food in the pan a breeze
- A traditional Chinese handled strainer with a mesh wire basket that is used to scoop food out of a pan of hot oil or water and is an excellent strainer.
- A steamer rack that fits perfectly into the bottom of a wok or any pan and holds a heatproof plate or bowl which contains the uncooked food.
- A set of handsome, jet-black chopsticks
- An autographed copy of the newly-reissued, best-selling cookbook, A Spoonful of Ginger, which won both the James Beard and IACP cookbook award for health
To enter you must complete all three of the below:
1. Follow @SpicesofLife on twitter
2. Retweet tweets containing #SpoonfulContest (you can do this automatically if you enter through her contest site here
3. Leave a comment below telling me your favorite Chinese dish!
June 25, 2011
Update! The contest has been extended until JULY 2, 2011. Additionally, Nina is giving away an additional 4 wok kits plus 5 additional "runner ups" will get a free copy of the book!
For full details and to sign up, go to Nina's contest site here.
Garlic Beef (or chicken!) with Golden Noodles
1 ½ lb boneless chicken
3 ½ T soy sauce
2 T rice wine or sake
2 T minced garlic
1 T cornstarch
¾ lb thin egg noodles (vermicelli or angel hair)
1 ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil mixed with 1 teaspoon safflower or corn oil
5 ½ T safflower or corn oil
2 T minced garlic
1 ½ T minced fresh ginger
1 ½ red onions
¾ lb fresh snap peas
2 T rice wine or sake
1 ½ cup classic chicken broth
6 T oyster sauce
1 12/ T rice wine or sake
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 ½ T corn starch
1. Cut chicken into thin slices on the diagonal. Put the slices in a bowl, add the Marinade, and toss lightly to coat. Let marinate for 20 minutes.
2. Boil noodles according to the box instructions until tender. Drain in colander. Rinse lightly to remove starch, and drain again through a colander. Pour the toasted sesame oil-safflower oil over the noodles and toss to coat. Spread the noodles out on a large baking sheet.
3. Heat broiler until very hot. Place the noodles 3 inches under the broiler ad cook for about 20 minutes, until they are golden brown. Flip them over with a spatula and brown on the other side. Cook until golden brown. Turn off the broiler and keep the noodles warm in an oven on low.
4. Heat a well-seasoned wok or large skillet, add 3 ½ T of oil, and heat until nearly smoking. Add chicken slices, and stir-fry over high heat until they lose their raw color and separate. Remove with a handled strainer and drain in a colander. Clean the wok.
5. Reheat the wok, add the remaining 2 T oil, heat for about 20 seconds, and add the garlic, ginger, and red onions. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, until the onion is soft. Add the snap peas and rice wine, and stir-fry for another 2 minutes, or until the snap peas are almost tender. Pour in the premixed Oyster Sauce and stir-fry until it thickens, taking care to prevent lumps. Add the cooked beef, and toss lightly in the sauce. Place the browned noodles on a platter and scoop the chicken and snap peas on top. Serve.
Nina Simonds is a family friend whom I have known for decades. I received one of the starter cooking kits for free.
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