Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Singapore Noodles

This is one of our family favorites. I got the recipe from a book called Toddler Menus. I'm not sure I'd recommend the book overall, because it has a lot of recipes that don't make any sense and don't work (grilled mozzarella shish kebabs, anyone?), but we've found a few winners. This is definitely one of them. I made some changes to the ingredients this time to incorporate what was in our CSA share this week. I have no idea how Singaporean this noodle dish actually is.

This is not a photogenic dish, but it is delicious.

Sesame oil or canola oil (a few tablespoons; sesame has a more distinct flavor, but canola works just fine)
2 dried red chiles, finely chopped (optional; they do add some spice, but everyone in this household is fine with that. You could also use fresh peppers or pepper paste.)
2 cloves freshly pressed garlic
1-inch piece of freshly peeled* and grated ginger (a microplane works well for grating; grate the ginger lengthwise)
8 green onions, chopped (we typically use chives from our garden instead and increase the amount accordingly)
2 skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
2 packages of ramen (you can also use an equivalent amount of chow mein noodles, but they're more expensive)
Beansprouts or bok choy (if using bok choy, slice the leaves away from the stems and chop the stems)
2 eggs, beaten
Shoyu (i.e., soy sauce; a few tablespoons--to taste)
Lime juice from 2 limes (or about 4 tablespoons--to taste)

If you're using ramen, throw away the seasoning packets. You don't want them for this recipe. Seriously. Start heating some water in a pot for the noodles. Put the oil in a large skillet or wok. Add the chiles, garlic, ginger, and green onions/chives while the skillet/wok is still cold. Cook over medium-high heat until the garlic is slightly brown. If using bok choy, add the stems (not the leaves yet) and the chicken and cook until the chicken is no longer pink. Meanwhile, cook the noodles in the pot of boiling water. Subtract one minute from the package-suggested cooking time. This probably means you'll end up boiling them for two minutes or so. Drain the noodles immediately. Once the chicken is cooked, add the noodles, beansprouts or bok choy leaves, and eggs to the skillet/wok. Cook for a couple minutes. Remove from heat and add shoyu and lime juice to taste.

*A regular dinner spoon works great for peeling ginger. Try it!

This turned out great, as it always does. We used chow mein noodles instead of ramen this time, and the noodles were more substantial--neither better nor worse, just different. The bok choy is also a deviation from the norm for us, but it was good. The stems added some crunch that sort of reminded me of water chestnuts.

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