Sunday, March 17, 2013

Very Garlic Chicken Noodles

As promised, I'm finally getting to the other part of our psuedo-Asian meal. My family loves this! It takes some prep, but it's totally worth it. Especially considering that your egg rolls are in the freezer- half of the meal is just heat n' eat! To heat your eggrolls: preheat the oven to 375F, and bake them on a cookie sheet for 30-35 minutes. If you're still cooking the noodle dish when they're nicely heated through, just turn the oven down to 200F- they're pretty forgiving, and will hold nicely until you're ready for 'em.

We had our noodles without the meat tonight, but most of the time, I make this with either chicken breast, or pork. This recipe will teach you how to velvet meat. Velveting meat gives it that texture that you only find in Chinese restaurants- once you know how to do it, you can apply it to any stir-fry or other dish. It's a handy trick! Recipe and how-to after the jump....

Very Garlic Chicken Broccoli Noodles

12 oz.-1 lb. raw chicken breast, cut into strips, 1/2”x1/2” around, to whatever lengths you prefer

2-3 T. water

1/4 c. cornstarch

6 cloves fresh garlic, or to taste


1-2 large shallots, sliced thinly

1-2 heads broccoli, florets cut or broken from main stems


a mixture of cut-up raw vegetables: carrots, celery, broccoli, etc., and/or canned baby corn, bamboo shoots, etc.- whatever you have on hand, and sounds good!


Black pepper, or red pepper flakes, to taste

1 12 oz. package somen, udon, or other Asian wheat noodles

Optional: Mongolian Fire oil, sesame oil, seasoned wok oil

(Note: do not use sesame or Mongolian oil alone for frying- the burning point on these oils can be very low, and will result in a nasty, burned-tasting mess! Combine with your peanut oil, or add to your noodles, before chilling them, or at the end of cooking as a seasoning.)

1/2 bottle Kikkoman Roasted Garlic Teriyaki Marinade and Sauce, or about half a cup of teriyaki sauce of your choice, store-bought or homemade


One large metal or glass bowl, and one medium-sized metal or glass bowl


Large skillet or wok


Peanut oil for frying

Hint alert!

Mix water and cornstarch together, and then add to chicken pieces. Crush garlic cloves, and add this to the chicken mixture. Blend well, allowing garlic and cornstarch slurry to coat all surfaces of the chicken. Put mixture in refrigerator for several hours, or overnight. This step can be performed up to two days prior to preparing the rest of the recipe. The process is called velveting, and it gives the chicken the same magical texture that you find in meats at good Chinese restaurants. It works well with all meats- pork, beef, and chicken, even shrimp. 

(As I mentioned before, we skipped the meat this time- but now you know how to velvet chicken!) 

Prepare noodles according to package directions. Rinse to cool down, drain, and toss with a tablespoon or two of oil- you can use seasoned wok oil, or peanut oil. If desired, shake in some Mongolian fire oil, and grind some fresh black pepper on the noodles as well, for extra pep.



Prep your veggies- if you're using carrots and celery, cut them on a slant. 


Gather your stuff together, and line it all up for cooking:



I generally prepare all of this the day before. That way, it's just bang-bang-bang at the stove!   

 Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat, and add a couple of tablespoons of peanut or other oil. When sizzling hot, add the chicken strips, being careful not to crowd the pan. When lightly golden on one side, turn them over and lightly brown the other sides. Continue the process until all chicken is cooked through. (I usually put the cooked chicken into a medium-sized metal bowl as I cook it.) Drop the shallot slices into the remaining oil, and let sizzle for a couple of minutes without disturbing them. 

Add the vegetables to the pan; cook until color heightens, stirring occasionally. It doesn't hurt to brown them a little on one side- carmelizing baby corn or carrots, for example, can really add flavor.


When the broccoli or other veggies have reached full color, but are still very crisp, remove from pan, and place with cooked chicken.  


Add handfuls of noodles to the pan to cover the bottom of the pan, no more than 1” deep. (In a 12” skillet, this will be about half of the noodles. I used the small Dutch oven this time, so it took considerably longer. More cooking surface = faster cooking times.) Also note: the less oil you use while cooking the noodles, the faster they'll brown. If your pan is seasoned properly, you can get away with using just the oil that you added to the noodles back when you boiled and rinsed them. 



Allow to brown on the bottom, then flip over with a spatula or tongs.



When the noodles are lightly browned to your liking, remove the first batch to a large metal bowl, and cook the rest of the noodles. When all of the noodles are done, dump the broccoli/shallot mixture back into the skillet. Add the Garlic Teriyaki sauce, and cook broccoli until almost tender, adding water if needed. 



Place chicken back in the pan, and stir all together to coat well with sauce. Empty skillet into the large bowl of noodles, and toss all together to coat everything well. 


Serve hot or cold. Reheats well in the microwave the second day.

You may have noticed that there was a lot of extra green stuff in the big bowl- that's because I lucked out yesterday, and found this at the Fred Meyers: 


The prettiest cilantro I've seen in a loooong time! Add some chopped, fresh cilatro to your noodles and veg mix, right at the end, for an extra pop of flavor. Good stuff! 

Aaaaannnd....chow down! 
 Hope everyone had a great weekend!  

And by the way- thanks once again to Craft-O-Maniac, for the Monday Link Party. It's one party that I never miss!

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