Category Archives: Noodles

Crab and Scallion Noodles

One of my favorite restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley is Newport Seafood, which specializes in Chinese-Vietnamese cuisine. They are famous for their house special lobster, but I prefer their house special crab. The crab is sautéed with scallions, ginger, and fresh peppers and is so delicious, I crave it all the time, but I reserve Newport for birthdays and special gatherings. To satisfy my craving, I took the same flavor profile and created this noodle dish. This recipe is easy to prepare, but it is important to have all the ingredients prepped in advance, because the recipe moves quickly. You want to time the noodles so that they finish cooking right as the crab is being added to the scallion mixture. For this recipe, I use one whole Dungeness crab. I steam the crab for 20 minutes and then pick out the meat. Adding fresh crab really makes a difference, but if you can’t find live crabs, you can buy the lump crab meat from your local supermarket. I hope you’ll love this noodle dish as much as I do. Enjoy!

 

Crab and Scallion Noodles

Serving Size: 4

 

1 lb of fresh chow mein noodles or Chinese wheat noodles

1/4 cup of unsalted butter (1/2 stick)

1 cup of 1/4″ sliced scallions (about 3-4)

2-3 mild red peppers, thinly sliced (extra for garnish)

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon of ginger juice*

2 tablespoons of oyster sauce

1 tablespoon of Maggi Seasoning**

1 1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar, preferably organic

1/2 teaspoon of salt

3/4 teaspoon of freshly grated black pepper

1/2 lb of steamed Dungeness crabmeat or store-bought lump crab meat

Cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)

 

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Take the chow mein noodles, separate them in a colander and set near the boiling pot.

2. Meanwhile, melt the butter on medium-low heat in a wok or a large sauté pan.

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3. Once the butter is melted, add the scallions, sliced red peppers, garlic and ginger juice. Increase the heat to medium high. Stir with a wooden spoon for about one minute.

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4. Add the oyster sauce, Maggi, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Stir for another minute.

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5. The water should be boiling at this point. Follow the instructions on the noodle package and cook the noodles. (Fresh noodles typically take anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes to cook).

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6. Meanwhile, add the crab to the scallion mixture and toss gently, so as not to break up the meat.

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7. Drain the noodles (but don’t rinse) and add to the crab and scallion mixture. Using tongs, toss gently. Taste for seasoning. Remove from the heat.

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8. Divide the noodles among 4 bowls. Add a few cilantro leaves and sliced red peppers. Give each bowl one turn of the pepper mill. Serve immediately.

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* To make ginger juice,  using a microplane grate about a tablespoon of ginger.  Push it through a sieve to collect the juices. You should have about a teaspoon.

**Maggi Seasoning  can be found in most Asian markets.  It contains MSG, so if you are allergic, you can substitute it with soy sauce.

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Jajangmyeon

Growing up, we’d often order jajangmyeon at our local Korean-style Chinese restaurant. Jajangmyeon is a traditional Korean noodle dish that is a combination of pork and wheat noodles in a black bean sauce. It originated in China but made its way to South Korea with Mandarin Chinese immigrants, who adapted the dish for the Korean palette. The Korean version has more sauce and a richer flavor, and usually has less fat on the pork and in the sauce.

One of my fondest food memories was watching the chef hand-pull the noodles, transforming the dough into even strands of beautiful noodles by pulling, stretching and twisting it in the air. I was in awe whenever I watched the chef perform his magic, as the noodles danced and floated in front of him until they were the perfect thickness. He did this all for a single bowl of jajangmyeon. Today, most Korean-style Chinese restaurants serve jajangmyeon with factory-made noodles, so finding hand-pulled noodles is a real treat.

My version of jajangmyeon is a healthier version of the dish, as I use less oil and and leaner pork to try and cut down on the fat. I also pre-marinate the pork, which ensures tender pieces of meat. This sauce is rich and full of great flavor, and I love to eat a big bowl of these noodles with a side of cabbage kimchee or takuan. Enjoy!

Jajangmyeon

Serving Size: 4

Sunflower oil or organic canola oil

1 large sweet onion, chopped into 1/2″ in pieces

1/2 large zucchini, cut into 1/2″ pieces (3/4 cup)*

1 small Yukon gold potato, 1/2 ” dice (3/4 cup) – parboiled for 5 minutes

8 ounces of par-cooked, marinated pork (recipe below)

2/3 cup of fermented black bean paste**

2 teaspoons of organic sugar

1 tablespoon of organic soy sauce

1 1/2 cups of water

2 tablespoons of organic cornstarch

22 ounces of fresh jajangmyeon noodles or Chinese wheat noodles (medium thickness)**

1/2 cup of julienned cucumbers (seeds omitted)

 

1. Heat a wok to medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil. Once the oil starts to smoke, add all the chopped onion. Sauté for about 3 minutes until the onion becomes translucent.

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2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil.
3. Add the cut zucchini pieces to the wok with the onions. Sauté for 2 more minutes.

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4. Add the par-cooked pork and potatoes to the wok.

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5. Add the black bean paste. Stir to incorporate.

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6. Add the soy sauce, sugar and water and bring it to a boil.

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7. Meanwhile, add the noodles into the boiling water. Follow the instructions on the package. Rinse and set aside. (You want to time the noodles so they will be ready when the sauce is done)

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8. Mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water to create a slurry. Stir into the sauce.

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9. Cook and stir until thickened.

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10. Divide the noodles evenly into four bowls. Ladle a generous amount of sauce into each of the bowls. Top with some julienned cucumbers and serve with cabbage kimchi.

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* When cutting the zucchini, remove the center seedy potion.  The section with the seeds becomes mushy when cooked. Then dice the  zucchini to 1/2″ pieces as shown.

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**  Fermented black bean paste and jajangmyeon noodles can be found at your local Korean supermarket.

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Marinated pork recipe 

8 ounces of lean pork chuck or tenderloin

1/4 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of organic cornstarch

1 teaspoon of organic soy sauce

1 teaspoon of Shoxing wine or Sake

 

1. Dice the pork into small pieces just shy of 1/2″

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2. Place the cut pork in a small bowl and sprinkle with baking soda. Mix well and let it sit for 10 minutes (I would suggest using a timer for this step because you do not want exceeded the time allotted or the pork will be too tender.)

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3. After the 10 minutes, add the cornstarch, soy sauce and the wine. Stir and let sit for 2 minutes.

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4.Meanwhile heat a wok to high. Add 1 tablespoon of oil. Once oil gets hot, add the marinated pork. Leave undisturbed for 30 seconds.

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5. Using a wooden spoon stir and sauté for about one minute.
Place in a bowl and set aside until ready to use.

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Japchae (Korean Vermicelli with Beef and Vegetables)

Japchae is a popular Korean beef and vegetable noodle dish, made with dang myun (sweet potato noodles). Commonly served at Korean barbecue restaurants as a side dish, japchae is as colorful as it is tasty, usually being combined with a variety of sautéed vegetables. Because it can be served at room temperature, it is also popular at Korean potlucks and wedding buffets. What makes japchae unique is the translucent and chewy texture of the sweet potato noodles. The noodles are also a great alternative to wheat noodles for people who are gluten intolerant.

In this recipe, I use brisket, but you use any other cuts of beef like ribeye, short rib or filet. My mom always used brisket but never marinated it, so it was always a little tough. I created a marinade for this recipe with a little soy and sake and a sprinkling of baking soda to tenderize the beef. It is important to add the baking soda 15 minutes before cooking the meat, so that it doesn’t overtenderize. You to can easily omit beef and add more mushrooms instead to make it vegetarian – either way it will be a crowd pleaser! Enjoy!

 

Japchae (Korean Vermicelli with Beef and Vegetables)

 

Serving Size: 6 as a side dish

2 large eggs
Sunflower or other neutral oil
8 ounces of sweet potato noodles*
1 yellow onion, sliced into 1/4″ strips
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 ounces of sliced fresh shiitake or button mushroom
1 cup of carrots (2 carrots), julienned into 1/4″ thin and 2″ long
6 ounces of marinated brisket (see below for marinade)
3 green onion (cut into 2″ pieces)
8 oz of organic spinach (not baby spinach) blanched for 30 seconds
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds*
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt to taste

*Note: Be sure to follow the marinated brisket instructions below prior to starting the recipe

1. Crack the 2 eggs in a medium bowl. Add a pinch of sea salt. Whisk well.

2. Heat a small, non-stick pan over medium. Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil. Pour about half the egg mixture into the pan, swirling to make a thin egg crepe. Cook for about 1 minute. Flip over and cook for 30 more seconds. Transfer to a cutting board and repeat with the remaining egg mixture.

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3. Once on the cutting board, fold into thirds like an omelette. Cut into half an inch strips. Place egg strips on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside until ready to use.

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4. Bring 5 quarts of water to boil. Add the sweet potato noodles. Cook for about 6 minutes (you can also follow the cooking instructions on the package.). Drain and rinse with cold water. Add 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil. Set aside.

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5. Remove the marinated beef from the refrigerator. Sprinkle with baking soda and stir. Set aside.

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6. Heat large a cast iron pan or wok over high. Add 1/2 tablespoon of sunflower oil. Add the carrots and pinch of salt. Cook for about 2 minutes. Remove and set aside.

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7. In the same pan, add 1/2 tablespoon oil. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Sauté until golden brown about 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside.

8. In the same pan on high heat, cook the beef until just brown. Don’t overcook or the meat will get tough. Remove and set aside. Wipe the bottom of pan with a paper towel.

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9. In same pan, heat to medium-high. Add 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil. Sauté the onions and garlic for about for about 3 minutes or until the onions get translucent.

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10. Add the cooked carrots, mushrooms and beef back into the pan. Add the spinach and green onions. Sauté everything for 30 seconds. Add the cooked noodles, soy sauce, sugar, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, sesame seeds, and several turns of black pepper.

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11. With tongs or large chopsticks, toss the noodles with all the ingredients over medium heat. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

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12. Finally, add the sliced egg crepe and gently toss gently to distribute evenly.

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13. Transfer to serving platter. Sprinkle additional sesame seed and serve.

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Marinated Brisket

6 ounces of grass-fed brisket
2 teaspoons of organic soy sauce
1 teaspoon of rice wine (sake)
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of sunflower oil
1/8 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon of baking soda

1. Slice the brisket against the grain into thin strips. You want the strips to be about 2 inches long.

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2. Whisk the remainder of the ingredients except for the baking soda in small bowl. (Save the baking soda for 15 minutes before you cook.)

3. Placed the sliced beef in the bowl and stir until combined. Cover with plastic wrap. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, and up to 2 hours. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.

*You can find toasted sesame seeds and dang myun at your local Korean supermarket.

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Kongguksu (Chilled Soy Milk Noodle)

Koreans love cold noodle soups during the summer. One of the most popular Korean cold noodle dishes is naeng myun, which is made with beef broth and buckwheat noodles. Kongguksu, a distant cousin of naeng myun, is made with chilled soy milk and somen noodles. Every summer, when my mom made kongguksu, it always put a smile on my face. I’ve had many versions of kongguksu and have yet to try one better than my mom’s. Most restaurants blend the cooked soybeans but don’t strain it, resulting in a thick, clumpy soup, but my mom adds an extra step and strains the puréed beans in a cheesecloth, yielding a smooth and silky broth. After learning how to prepare kongguksu from my mom, I wrote down the recipe and added it to my repertoire. Note that the recipe requires the soybeans to soak overnight, so please add a day to your prep time.

For those who are only interested in the homemade soy milk portion of the recipe, you will end up with with two quarts. You can easily cut this recipe in half to make 1 quart. To make a sweet soy milk for use in cereal or coffee, add a little superfine sugar and vanilla extract. To make Taiwanese salty soy milk, heat the prepare soy milk, add pork song, Chinese donuts, preserved vegetables, fried shallots, and scallions. Enjoy!

Kongguksu (Chilled Soy Milk Noodle)

Yield: 2 quarts of soy milk for 4 bowls of noodles.

1 pound of dried organic soy beans*
Superfine sea salt, to taste
1 package of organic somen noodles, 9.5 ounces*
1 large Japanese cucumber
2 teaspoons of toasted sesame seeds*
12 small ice cubes
Kimchee for serving
1. Soak the soybeans in water overnight in 10 cups of water.

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2. The next morning, strain the soybeans and rinse well.

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3. Put the soy beans in a large pot and place enough cold water to cover 1 1/2 inches above the beans.

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4. Bring to a boil and skim the impurities during the boiling process.

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5. Reduce to a simmer. Cook the beans uncovered for about 25 minutes.

6. Turn off the heat and leave the pot sitting on the stove top for 10 more minutes.

7. Strain the beans and give them a quick rinse.

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8. Rub the beans together and try to remove as many skins as possible.

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9. Place 2 cups of beans and 3 cups of water in a blender and purée on high until smooth. (This will be about 1/3 of the cooked beans.) Transfer the puréed beans to a large bowl and repeat this process 2 more times.

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10. Pour the puréed soybean liquid into a chinois or cheese cloth over a large bowl. Strain, using a large paddle or spoon to push down the solids to push out as much of the liquid as possible. Discard the solids.

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11. You should have about 2 quarts of soy milk. Add sea salt to taste.

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12. Cover and store the soy milk in the refrigerator until it gets cold. You can store the salted say milk in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

13. Cut the cucumber into 2-inch strips using a mandolin, and discard the center with the seeds. Set aside.

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14. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the somen noodles and boil for 2 minutes. Rinse noodles in cold water.

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15. To assemble the kongguksu, divide the noodles equally in 4 large bowls. Ladle some soy milk over the noodles. Place 3 ice cubes and some sliced cucumbers into the bowl and sprinkle in 1/2 teaspoon of sesame seeds. Serve with kimchee.

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*You can find these ingredients at most Korean or Japanese markets.

 

 

 

Asian Noodle Salad with Chicken Meatballs

A refreshing cold noodle salad really hits the spot during warm-weather days. When I think of noodle salads, “bun” (a Vietnamese rice vermicelli noodle salad) comes to mind. This dish also has fresh vegetables, lettuce, fragrant herbs, and includes some type of protein. The protein can be grilled pork, lemongrass chicken, shrimp paste, crispy tofu or even egg rolls. Nuoc cham, a Vietnamese dipping sauce made with fish sauce, ties the dish together. I love bun because it’s light yet satisfying with many layers of flavors and textures. Bun is the original “lean cuisine.”

Here is my version of bun using a chicken meatball recipe I created. My kids love meatballs, and these are made with Asian flavors that really compliment this noodle salad. The meatballs are so versatile that you can use them in a Thai curry, in Vietnamese sandwiches or serve them with rice and eggs for breakfast. The meatballs freeze well too so you can make them in advance and then heat them up in the oven before serving. Enjoy!

Asian Noodle Salad with Meatballs

Yield: 4 servings

1 pound of ground organic chicken
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon of grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg, slightly beaten
2 teaspoons of hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon of chili paste
2/3 cup of panko flakes
Mai Pham’s Vietnamese dipping sauce recipe
8 ounces of thin rice vermicelli (cooked and drained)*
1 ripe tomato, cut into wedges
1 Persian cucumber, cut into 1/4 inch circles
4 ounces of chopped romaine or baby greens
1/4 cup of thinly shredded carrots
1/4 cup of fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup of fresh cilantro leaves
1/8 cup of toasted peanuts, chopped
Lime wedges for serving

1. Mix the chicken, onions, ginger, cloves, egg, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, chili paste and panko flakes until just combined. Don’t overmix or you will end up with tough meatballs.

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2. Roll into 2″ meatballs. You should have roughly 16 meatballs.

 

3. Heat a 12-inch cast-iron or stainless steel pan on medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil. Brown on each side until you get a nice sear, which will take about 1 minute per side. Be sure to sear all sides as if it were a cube.

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4. Place the meatballs in a paper towel-lined colander. Set aside.

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5. To assemble the the noodle salad, place some noodles on the bottom of 4 serving bowls. Place some mixed greens on top and arrange the rest of the vegetables and herbs. Place 4 meatballs in the center and sprinkle the peanuts on top. Serve with the Vietnamese dipping sauce and lime wedge.

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*Rice noodles come in different thicknesses. Make sure you use the thin rice vermicelli noodles and follow the cooking instructions on the package.

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Spicy Minced Chicken Noodles

 

I live in the San Gabriel Valley, the Asian food Mecca of Southern California. San Gabriel Valley is home to some of the best Chinese food outside of China. There is wide array of regional cuisines like Sichuan, Cantonese, Hunanese, etc. In addition to Chinese food, you can find Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Burmese, and even food from Borneo. From soupy dumplings to Hainan chicken, one will never run out of food options. One of my favorite noodle dishes out here is the minced pork noodle, made with a fermented bean sauce. Every restaurant has their own version, but it is always made with ground pork. I created my own version with organic ground chicken and spiced it up a bit. I use a chili pepper sauce made in San Francisco and noodles made nearby in Commerce (where I’ve actually visited the factory).

I tested this noodle dish at my office and it was a hit, even among those that don’t like spicy food. I may not be Chinese, but I have become very familiar with Chinese flavors, and based on the response I got, these noodles are as good as any noodle dish in the San Gabriel Valley. Once you have all the ingredients ready, the dish takes less than 20 minutes to whip up, but be sure to read the whole recipe in advance, as almost every step is 3 minutes or less and you’ll be moving quick! But don’t let that scare you off – once you make this dish, I guarantee you’ll enjoy it!

Serving Size: 2 large bowls of noodles

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of oil
3 cloves of garlic (minced)
8 ounces of organic ground chicken
1/2 cup of finely chopped choy sum leaves* or spinach leaves.
2 tablespoons of finely chopped preserved turnips*
2 tablespoons of chili pepper sauce*
2 tablespoons of organic soy sauce
1 tablespoon of Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon of Chinese five spice
1 teaspoon of sugar
3/4 cup of homemade chicken stock or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth (cold)
2 teaspoons of organic cornstarch
12 ounces of fresh Chinese wheat noodles (medium thickness)*
1 green onion, thinly sliced
Fresh cilantro leaves
Chinese chili oil (optional)

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Directions

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.

2. Meanwhile, heat a wok or a large sauté pan on high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil.

3. Add the minced garlic. Sauté for 15 seconds.

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4. Add the ground chicken. Sauté for 3 minutes, breaking up the meat.

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5. Add the choy sum. Sauté for 1 minute.

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6. Add the preserved turnips. Sauté for 30 seconds.

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7. Add the chili pepper sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, five spice, and sugar. Sauté for 1 minute.

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8. Add cornstarch in the chicken stock, making sure your chicken stock is cold. Mix well and and pour directly into the wok, stirring the meat. Cook until the sauce boils and thickens. This should take about 3-5 minutes. Turn off the heat.

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9. Take the fresh Chinese noodles and put in the boiling water. Follow the cooking directions on the package. The brand I use takes 2.5 minutes.

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10. Drain the noodles but don’t rinse. Divide the noodle into bowls.

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11. Pour a generous amount of meat sauce over the noodles. If using, drizzle a tablespoon of chili oil over the sauce. Garnish with chopped green onion and cilantro.

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12. Serve immediately.

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*Here are photos of some hard to find ingredients I used in this recipe. Also, I added a picture of the choy sum before it was chopped up. You can find all these ingredients at a Chinese grocery store:

 

Garlic Noodles with Sautéed Shrimp

The Famous Garlic Noodles recipe at Crustacean in Beverly Hills has been a heavily guarded secret for nearly 20 years. In fact, the dish is made every day behind closed doors, in a separate “secret” kitchen off the main kitchen. Many people, including famous celebrities, have requested access to the secret kitchen, but they all have been denied. Much like the secret formula for Coca-Cola or KFC’s original recipe of 11 herbs and spices, the recipe lives with a select few. In my opinion, the noodles are good, but the reason they’re “famous” is because of the intrigue surrounding the recipe, one which has become coveted by many. In fact, search the internet and you will find dozens of copycat versions of the dish, proving once again that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Today I am adding my version to the group of imitators, which I created years ago for a friend. It may not be exactly the same, but it’s pretty darn tasty. Enjoy!

Garlic Noodles with Sautéed Shrimp

Serving size: 4 with other side dishes

1 package of Hakubaku organic wheat ramen noodles (9.5 ounces) or 12 ounces of fresh chow mein noodles
½ stick of unsalted butter
5 large garlic, minced
1 ½ tablespoons of fish sauce (Three Crabs or Red Boat brand)
1 tablespoon of oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster-flavored sauce)
½ tablespoon of Maggi or thick soy sauce
2 teaspoons of sugar
12 ounces of sautéed shrimp or 8 oz of sliced extra firm tofu
¼ cup of chopped scallions
Freshly grated black pepper
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Chopped cilantro (optional)

1. Cook noodles in boiling water for 4 minutes (or 1 minute if using using fresh noodles).

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2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the next 4 ingredients and remove from heat. Set aside.

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3. Once the noodles are cooked, drain but don’t rinse and reserve ¼ cup of the water. (If using fresh noodles, drain in cold water.)

4. Heat a large wok to medium heat. Add 3/4 of the garlic sauce. Add the noodles, scallions, cooked shrimp, and a few turns of the black pepper mill. Add a few drops of the reserved water to loosen noodles. Taste to see if you need the remainding garlic sauce.

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5. Add the Parmesan cheese. Mix well.

6. Remove from heat. Divide noodles among 4 bowls and top with chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.

 

Sautéed Shrimp Recipe

12 ounces of large shrimp, cleaned and deveined
3 tablespoons of neutral oil (sunflower or vegetable)
1 teaspoon of white vinegar
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
½ teaspoon of paprika
½ teaspoon of salt

1. Mix all ingredients in a glass bowl and marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

2. Remove from the refrigerator.

3. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Coat with oil. Add the entire shrimp mixture at once.

4. Sauté shrimp for roughly 5 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove from heat. Set aside until ready to use.