Susan and I were having a conversation today about cooking, because I swear to God, food is all we talk about. She said she wasn’t cooking tonight, because no one was coming over and she likes to cook for company, not just for herself. I feel totally the opposite. Sunday nights I’m often by myself (yahoo!) and I almost always cook something just for me. Cooking for myself means I don’t have to take into account anyone’s food preferences but my own, so I often make really spicy things, sometimes featuring mushrooms. I like to cook on Sunday evenings, because I can cook exactly what I feel like eating. Because I am food selfish.
This is a typically me thing to cook. Vaguely Thai or Indian, definitely spicy, full of veggies and great as a leftover to bring to work the next day. This is sort of loosely based on a Singaporean fried noodles recipe I found, but I added so many extra ingredients it isn’t really the same. These noodles are sweetish and tangyish and definitely spicy, and soy saucy and gingery and delicious. And really easy. The whole thing, from chopping to eating, took about 20 minutes.
Sweet and Spicy Fried Noodles with Chicken and Broccoli
1 packet thick rice noodles, about a pound
1 lb chicken, cut into bite sized pieces (you could easily use shrimp, pork, tofu or no meat at all, just omit the meat step)
1 head of broccoli, cut into bite sized, uniform pieces (any vegetable or combination of vegetables you like will do, carrots, bean sprouts, peppers, kale, baby corn, green beans, whatever)
5 green onions, cut into 1 inch pieces, green and white parts included
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 inch piece fresh ginger, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
4 tbsp rice vinegar
juice of 1 lime
4 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp sweet Thai chili sauce (TJ carries this, and I keep it in my fridge at all times, I use it a lot)
3 tbsp citrus jam- I thought mine was orange marmalade but in fact it was pineapple-apricot jam, which was perfect, though I have no idea how it got there (also, if you don’t have citrus jam already don’t buy it, just throw in an equal amount of orange juice, or pineapple juice, any kind of citrus juice would be fine, just not lemon)
1 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp vegetable oil
red chile flakes to taste, I used probably a half a teaspoon
salt and pepper
Mix together soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, chili sauce, brown sugar, citrus jam, red chile flakes and black pepper. Whisk until a smooth sauce is formed, and set aside.
Boil water in your kettle, enough to cover the rice noodles. Put the noodles in a big bowl, and pour the boiling water over them. Cook them as long as the package suggests, probably 6-8 minutes. The noodles should be just a bit al dente, meaning that they have a bit of a bite, but will still soak up the liquid in the pan. Drain the noodles and return them to the bowl, dribbling the teaspoon of sesame oil over them, and a teaspoon or two of vegetable oil if you need. The point is that the noodles don’t get all stuck together in a big chewy clump, so you’ll want to stir them around with a fork, loosening and moving them around in the oil. You can put them aside until you’re ready for them.
In the meantime, heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil on high heat in a big pan, a wok if you have one. I don’t, so I used my nonstick skillet, which I use for everything. I even whisper supportive, nurturing things to it when I wash it. Anyway. When the oil is hot, put in the chicken pieces and let them brown a bit, moving them around. When the chicken is mostly white, pour in the ginger and garlic and a pinch of salt, moving things around very often. Ginger and garlic will burn very quickly, and burned garlic and ginger is totally gross, so move things around often so that doesn’t happen. Let that cook together a bit, for probably 5 or so minutes. The chicken should be nice and brown. When the chicken is brown, pour in the broccoli pieces, cooking for another minute or two. Next, pour in half the sauce you made, and the green onions, letting it heat up and coat everything, moving things around, for another minute.
Pour all the chicken and veggies into a big bowl and reserve for a minute. Pour the rest of the sauce into the pan and dump in the cooked rice noodles. Cook the two together for a few minutes, probably 5 or so, moving the noodles around so the sauce coats everything. The noodles should be pretty limp when they’re done, and brown from soaking up all the sauce. When they are finished, pour them on top of the chicken and veggies in the bowl you set aside, toss everything together and serve immediately.
If you have a big enough pan or wok to cook everything together all at once, by all means, do so, but I sure don’t.
PS- in the picture above, that is a side plate, not a dinner plate. I don’t want people thinking I eat humongous plates of noodles like some people I know.