PAN FRIED NOODLES WITH BEEF AND CHOY SUM (for four)
8 ounces fresh thin Chinese egg noodles (shi dan mian, also called Hong Kong noodles; not wonton noodles)
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
one ½ pound piece flank steak
¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon Asian sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine (preferably Shaoxing) or medium-dry Sherry
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon white pepper
½ cup low sodium chicken broth
5 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
3 scallions, cut into 2-½ inch pieces (1 cup)
5 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps quartered (2-½ cups)
6 ounces choy sum, cut into 2-½ inch pieces (2-½ cups) or 1-inch-wide broccoli florettes
- Bring 8 cups unsalted water to a boil in a 6 to 8 quart pot, then add noodles, stirring to separate, and cook 15 seconds. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water until the noodles are cool, then shake colander briskly to drain excess water. Scatter on a clean kitchen towel and let dry for 1 hour, then toss the noodles with sesame oil.
- Cut steak with the grain into 1-½ to 2 inch wide strips. Cut each strip across the grain into ¼ inch thick slices and put in a medium bowl. Using your hands, toss beef with sugar, sesame oil, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon rice wine, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce and 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Let beef marinate at room temperature while preparing remaining ingredients.
- Stir together remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon rice wine, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce and 1 teaspoon cornstarch with ¼ teaspoon white pepper in a small bowl until smooth, then stir in chicken broth.
- In a 12-inch non-stick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Tilt the pan and move it around so that the oil coats the bottom. When the oil is hot, add the noodles and push them into the bottom of the pan with a spatula. Cook the noodles until they are golden brown on the bottom, about 6 minutes. Press down on the noodles with a spatula during cooking — this helps form them into a nest shape and makes sure they cook evenly. Rotate the noodle cake with a spatula to brown evenly and lift edges occasionally to check color.
- Flip the noodles frittata-style: Place a plate over the noodles and then invert the pan so that the noodles fall onto the plate, browned side up. (Flip the pancake well away from any open flame. Any oil left in the pan may spill and, if it comes into contact with a flame, catch fire.) Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and tilt pan to lightly coat the bottom. Slide the noodles back into the pan. Cook until they are golden brown on the bottom, usually about 6 minutes. Again, press down lightly on the noodles during cooking. (The exact cooking time may vary depending on the type and even the brand of noodle that you are using. If, after browning both sides, the noodles aren’t quite as crisp as you like, you can fry either side for a bit longer, but you shouldn’t need to add extra oil to the pan.) Transfer drained noodle cake to a platter and loosely cover with foil to keep warm.
- Heat a wok over high heat until a drop of water evaporates within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Pour 1 tablespoon peanut oil down side of wok, then swirl oil, tilting wok to coat sides. Add beef, spreading pieces in 1 layer on bottom and sides as quickly as possible. Cook, undisturbed, letting beef begin to brown, 1 minute, then stir-fry until beef is just browned on all sides but still pink in center, about 1 minute. Transfer meat and any juices to a plate.
- Add 1 tablespoon oil to wok over high heat. When oil just begins to smoke, add ginger and garlic and stir-fry 5 seconds, then add scallions and stir-fry 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and stir-fry until softened, about 3 minutes. Add choy sum and stir-fry until leaves are bright green and just wilted, 2 to 3 minutes (if using broccoli, cook until almost crisp-tender). Stir broth mixture, then pour into wok and stir-fry until sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add beef and stir to coat. Return mixture just to a boil, then pour over noodle cake.
adapted from Gourmet Magazine, September, 2005