I believe I've discovered that I have a mysterious power. I am a drought buster. Yes, that's right; my next business will be consulting all over the world wherever rain is needed. I know this because it fortuitously rains every &*@#$ time I schedule a fire drill at school. Nothing like scheduling 1700 kids to stand outside in a downpour. No sirree! Think I can market it? Yeah, me either.
Therefore, I must turn my powers to something more do-able, like cooking dinner. I'm still working out of A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen with tonight's Pan-Fried Noodle Cake with Stir-Fried Bok Choy. Noodles. Cake. Pan-fried. What's not to love? This whole process was new to me, and I spent more than a few minutes trying to figure out how to make this whole thing come together at the same time. Finally, I decided to start the water for the noodles and use the time waiting for it to boil to prep the stir-fry ingredients. Once the noodles were cooked, I heated the requisite non-stick skillet after sweeping it with roasted peanut oil. LOVE that smell! I also started another skillet, readying it for stir-fry.
Once the first skillet was hot, I dumped the bowl of noodles coated with roasted peanut oil and soy sauce into the pan, pressing down hard with a spatula to form a dense noodle cake. As that cooked, I tossed the bok choy stems (and some leftover cremini mushrooms I sliced up) into the other pan over a high heat. Back to the first pan, where I slid the well-browned noodle cake onto a plate, covered it with another plate, and flipped it over, then back into the pan for the other side to brown. More spatula pressing. Back to the other pan, stir-frying the bok choy leaves, fragrant garlic and ginger, and a mixture of hoisin, water, and rice vinegar. After a few minutes of Tasmanian Devil moves--Success. Wedges of crispy noodle cake were covered with the stir-fry, and served up in no time flat.
It was only later that I read the recipe's intro in the book, telling how to make it all come out right. No harm done. This is another recipe with quite a bit of versatility. The noodle cake is a great base, and the possibilities for topping it are limited only by your imagination.