Monday, February 4, 2008

Clever Title Wanted--Please Apply Within

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.


LisaRene said...

This recipe with the "Tasmanian Devil moves" sounds like a lot of work, but based on your photo is looks worth it. I find the texture of fried noodles to be very appealing.

Michelle said...

Lisa, it's a lot of steps, but not too much work. The Tasmanian Devil part only lasts about 10 minutes. The biggest downside is that I was left with a crazy pile of dishes to wash (2 skillets, pasta pot, etc.) However, even that went fast. I would say this is an under-40-minute meal if you don't count clean up!

Pam said...

That noodle cake looks perfectly crispy!

Erika W. said...

Wow! That looks and sounds really good!

I'm just drooling at your blog today, so many wonderful sounding recipes over the last few days! Yum!

Ricki said...

This looks fabulous, and what a great photo! I'm not overly fond of bok choy for some reason (though I love other greens), but this sounds very appealing. What a great recipe!

Michelle said...

Pam--it was nicely crispy. It reminded me of roasted potatoes with the crispy, browned outside and the soft, creamy inside.

Erika--we have had some winners lately. If I ever made things twice, I'd probably repeat some! :)

Ricki--we're not huge bok choy fans, either, but this was still good. I also think you could substitute any green or other vegetables that you like. The principle would be the same, but you'd like it!