Monday, September 8, 2008

Cantonese Fried Noodles

The Chinese consider meat and vegetables to be accompaniments to their most basic staples, wheat and rice. Rice, contrary to belief, is not a staple throughout China. Wheat is cultivated in the north and rice in the south. The centerpiece of a southern Chinese table is a bowl of rice or rice-based noodles - not so in the north. The diet of the southernmost regions is the one most familiar to Americans - Cantonese. The food is mild and emphasizes freshness, tenderness, crispness and fragrance to please the tongue. Today's quest is the essence of simplicity - rice noodles with a little meat, some vegetables and a shimmering glaze of sauce. If you have a microwave, a wok or large frying pan and a sharp knife you can have this dish on the table in about 30 minutes. The microwave is used to blanch vegetables prior to wokking; limp, over-cooked snow peas will ruin this dish. I blanch vegetables because my burners don't produce enough heat to cook vegetables in a really short period of time; I suspect you have the same problem. You can, of course, fall back on the old boiling water-cold water plunge if you don't have a microwave. How long to blanch? That depends on the vegetable. Snow peas, nuked on HIGH power with a tablespoon of water, will be wok-readyin about 2 minutes. To prevent sticking, mist the bottom and sides of your pan with a nonstick spray or flavorless cooking oil; then heat the pan before adding oil for the actual cooking. The Chinese use a lot of oil and they like to reuse it. Classic recipes for fried noodles use upwards of a 1/2 cup of oil.This recipe uses 2 tablespoons. The Chinese use fresh rice noodles for this dish. I use medium-width rice sticks that resemble tagliatelle as fresh noodles are hard to come by in this area. The noodles come from Vietnam and are called bahn pho; they are available in various sizes S thru XL - go for L or XL. Pad Thai noodles can be used in a pinch, but follow box instructions for softening rather than those given in this recipe. Rice noodles can be purchased from online merchants.

Cantonese Fried Noodles...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite


8 ounces wide dry rice stick noodles (bahn pho)
2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided use
1 tablespoon rice wine
3-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch, divided use
1 teaspoon granulated sugar, divided use
8 ounces tender steak (i.e. sirloin or flatiron), thinly sliced
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
3/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
8 ounces snow peas, trimmed and blanched
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided use


1) Cover rice noodles with boiling water. Let sit 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Drain.
2) Meanwhile, combine 1 tablespoon soy sauce, rice wine, 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and beef in a small bowl. Toss to coat.
3) Combine oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, chicken broth, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and sesame oil in a small bowl. Mix well. Set aside.
4) Coat bottom and sides of wok with a thin layer of oil or nonstick spray. Heat wok over high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil and warm until it shimmers. Add beef and stir-fry until just cooked, about 1 minute. Transfer beef to a plate.
5) Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan. When hot, add drained rice noodles and gently stir-fry until noodles are warm and coated with oil.
6) Add oyster sauce mixture; simmer, stirring slowly, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Add snow peas and beef, tossing lightly to combine. Cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter. Yield: 4 servings.


Patsyk said...

Looks like a great recipe!

Welcome to the world of Food Blogging!

1215656559s20768 said...

Welcome! Looks delish!-Lorie

mary said...

Hi Mary!

Sally gave me your blog link.

I thought I would stop by and say hello from Boston.

The recipe looks easy and delicious too!


Ms O said...

Hello Mary :)

I was tickled to hear from you! Thank you for the link to your blog - which looks great, btw!

Congratulations on starting your blog. I look forward to reading it.

Lea x

bakinbits said...

Hello Mary, this recipe looks and sounds just wonderful. So nice to be in touch again and hope that all is well with you. Your blog looks wonderful and I wish you the best with it!

Melissa and Zack said...

Looks awesome Mom!!! way to go!

Candy said...

My son will love this recipe! Thanks for all the information.

Mary said...

Thanks to all - friends old and new. It's good to know there's someone out there.

As ever,


Anonymous said...

when we make this the noodles always seem to dry out, how can we keep them more moist? we use hoisin sauce for the noodles, is that why?

Mary said...

Annonymous, is it possible the noodles are taken out of the water too soon? I don't think using hoisin should cause them to be dry.

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