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Stir-Fried Chinese Egg Noodles with Shrimp and Asian Greens

This image courtesy of Christopher Hirsheimer

Fresh Chinese egg noodles, the shape and thickness of spaghetti and called mee or “yellow noodles,” are a core ingredient in Malaysian and Spingaporean cooking. They’re a perfect foil for assertive, sweet ingredients, such as the sweet soybean paste (tauco) in this recipe. Although cooks in Malaysia and Singapore have devised many ingenious ways to stir-fry egg noodles, this recipe stands out for its lightness and freshness. It’s traditionally eaten on its own; enjoy it as a light lunch or supper with any chile-based sauces. If possible, use a nonstick wok or skillet to make this dish, as fresh Chinese egg noodles have a tendency to stick to the pan. Also, because this dish requires rapid stir-frying, clean, cut, and measure all your ingredients before you begin cooking.

Makes3 or 4 servings as a main course

Cooking Methodstir-frying

CostModerate

Easy

Total Timeunder 30 minutes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationlactose-free, tree nut free

Equipmentwok

Mealdinner, lunch

Moodstressed

Taste and Texturechewy, light, salty, sweet, umami

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (455 grams) precooked fresh Chinese egg noodles, rinsed, drained, and cut in half, or uncooked fresh Chinese egg noodles
  • 10 stalks choy sum or 5 whole small heads baby bok choy or Shanghai choy, about 7 ounces (200 grams) in total
  • 4 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sweet soybean paste
  • 7 ounces (200 grams) medium-sized shrimp (10 to 15 shrimp), peeled, heads removed, and deveined (you can leave the tails on, if you like)
  • 1 ½ cups (about 4 ounces/115 grams) mung bean spouts (optional; if not using, increase the amount of choy sum by 3 stalks or baby bok choy or Shanghai choy by 2 heads)
  • 4 tablespoons warm water
  • 2 teaspoons double-black soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

Instructions

  1. If you’re using fresh Chinese egg noodles that are not precooked, cook them first, cut them in half, and set aside.

  2. To prepare the choy sum, inspect it carefully, discarding or trimming any spoiled stems or leaves. Cut 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) off the base of each stalk and rinse the greens in several changes of the coldest possible water. If you’re using baby bok choy or baby Shanghai choy, inspect the heads carefully, discarding or trimming any spoiled stems or leaves. Cut 1/8 inch (3 millimeters) off the base of each head and rinse the greens in several changes of the coolest possible water. (Take care to clean baby bok shoy or Shanghai choy carefully, as it tends to have hidden pockets of sand where the leaves meet the center stem). Cut the cleaned choy sum into pieces 2 ½ to 3 inches (6 to 7.5 centimeters long): if you’re using baby bok choy or Shanghai choy, leave the heads whole or cut them in halves or quarters lengthwise, depending on size. Dry the greens in a salad spinner or set them aside to dry on a kitchen towel or on paper towels. They don’t need to be bone-dry; a little dampness is fine.

  3. Heat the oil in a wok or 12-inch (30-centimeter) skillet (nonstick will work best) over medium heat. When it’s hot – it should appear slightly shimmery – ad the garlic and the sweet soybean paste (be mindful that the soybean paste may splatter a bit when it’s added to the hot oil) and sauté, stirring constantly with a large spatula, until the garlic is no longer raw but has not yet begun to change color, 1 to 2 minutes. If the garlic starts to turn golden, take the pan off the heat to cool for a few moments before continuing.

  4. Add the shrimp to the skillet and stir-fry just until they begin to turn pink, about 2 minutes. Add the greens and raise the heat to high. Stir-fry vigorously until the greens just begin to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the bean sprouts (if using) and continue to stir-fry vigorously for another 15 seconds.

  5. Reduce the heat slightly and quickly add the noodles, using your hands and detangling them as you drop them into the skillet. Stir the noodles well to combine them with the greens, bean sprouts, and shrimp. Add the warm water, soy sauce, and salt and stir well to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, until the noodles are hot and have soaked up all the liquid, about 2 minutes (Note that the noodles will have increased slightly in size once they have soaked up the liquid). Taste a noodle for salt, and add a pinch more if needed.

  6. Transfer the noodles to a large platter or bowl and serve immediately. Although inauthentic, I like to top these noodles with freshly ground black pepper, which provides a nice layer of flavor.


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