umami at home.

Today was supposed to be a really long day of work. One of those days where I wake up, leave the house at 5:45, go to Washington, work all day, and then get home around 9 or 10 at night.

But when Lorien, the PhD student and I, got to the field site, she realized that she had left the chamber of the LI-COR machine in her garage, and couldn’t do any of her respiration measurements, which were supposed to take 5 hours. Instead, we were left with two people to do what would have taken me three hours alone, and with twice the labor went even faster. End result, I was back in Eugene at a normal time and wondering what to do with myself.

I had anticipated being exhausted when I got home, and getting takeout. But with so much time I decided to cook instead, using a recipe from Rasa Malaysia, a blog devoted to not-too-difficult but reasonably authentic (I think) Asian cooking. And I discovered something amazing: you can make Chinese food at home which is twice as good as takeout, not too hard to cook, and not even very expensive. Hallelujah.

This dish has many great components. First of all, fresh egg noodles? Completely amazing! So good even compared to fresh Italian-style pasta. Wow. Secondly, the chicken, holy crap. Sweet and spicy and delicious, sticky in that Chinese-restaurant sort of way, and caked in sesame seeds. Finally, the vegetables are still somewhat crisp, not mushy and gross. I’m a huge fan of this dish and can’t wait to eat the leftovers for dinner tomorrow.

Another great thing about this recipe is that once you get a few ingredients from your Asian market (which is way cheaper than a normal grocery store, I promise you), you’ll have them in your cupboard and it will make it even easier to cook up future feasts. I’d strongly suggest getting an authentic, rich soy sauce instead of the watery, salty, bland kind that is a staple in American cooking. You will discover that soy sauce is unbelievably tasty, and not just a way to salt your food. Ditto on the rest of the ingredients, really.

So I present to you, chicken and noodles for one, in your own wok. Enjoy!

Chicken and Noodles with Carrots, Zucchini, and Green Beans

Adapted from Rasa Malaysia

Note: I made three times the amount of chicken, and saved it in a tupperware. The noodles won’t reheat well, so the idea is that you can make a new batch of noodles and veggies the next night and throw the chicken in on top. Everyone likes having a few days worth of dinners (or lunches!) in the fridge!

Marinade and Chicken

1 boneless chicken thigh

1 teaspoon chili oil

1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon oyster sauce

1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine

1 teaspoon brown sugar

Cut the chicken into small pieces and place in a bowl with all the other ingredients. Stir well so the chicken is coated and then let sit half an hour at least, or basically as long as you want

The Dish

Chicken and marinade, above

4 tablespoons canola oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped thin

1 small handful fresh egg noodles

1 medium-sized carrot

1/3 of one medium-sized zucchini

5 or so green beans

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

sesame seeds

Start by placing a wok over high heat with 2 tablespoons of the canola oil. When it’s good and hot, pour the chicken and the marinade sauce into the oil. Cook over medium high to high heat for ten or so minutes; the chicken will at first cook in the sauce, but then the sauce will begin to evaporate. When there is barely any sauce left, the chicken is turning dark, and the tips are just beginning to blacken, take the wok off the heat. Pour the chicken into a bowl. Let the wok cool slightly and then clean it out; there will be some sauce blackened onto it.

Next, rinse the egg noodles in a bowl of water several times, discarding the water after each rinse. Let the noodles sit in a bowl while you prepare the wok for them. Cut the carrots and zucchini into very thin matchsticks and the greenbeans in half each. Over medium high heat, warm the remaining two tablespoons of oil and then add the garlic, cooking until it is soft. Add the vegetables and stir, cooking for a minute or so. Add the noodles, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and water, and cook until the noodles have changed color and are cooked through. Put the noodle mixture in a bowl, place the chicken on top, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

2 thoughts on “umami at home.

  1. Ok, you make it sound so good, we’re trying it out tonight! We’ll let you know how it goes. i don’t think it will look as good as yours.

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