I love chow fun…a gossamer, rice-based noodle that is almost like Chinese pappardelle. The bad news is that you’ll probably have to go to your local Chinatown to find fresh chow fun. The good news is that it’ll be so worth it! Especially if you sear it in a wok, which adds great flavor. But this kind of sear-cooking at home–where the woks don’t measure up to restaurant woks in size, and the BTUS don’t measure up to restaurant BTUS–must be done in small portions to get a restaurant taste. For the following recipe, make sure your wok measures at least 14″ across at the top, and make sure your heat is the highest you can muster. Also: fearing that my sauce will transform too much in this hot, hot wok, I have created a new concept here: a finishing sauce that never sees the wok, but gets poured over the finished dish. Try it! It works!
Serves 2-3 as part of Chinese meal
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
3 medium scallions cut diagonally into 2″ lengths (about 1 cup)
1/2 small green pepper, seeded and cut in thin julienne strips (about 1 cup)
1 cup shredded cooked chicken with skin (preferably boneless thigh meat)
6 ounces fresh Hong Kong-style chow fun (about 1 cup)
3 tablespoons hot chili bean sauce with garlic (see *INGREDIENT NOTE)
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup torn cilantro leaves
1. Place a large wok over very high heat. When it starts to smoke, swirl in the oil, spreading all around the wok. Add garlic, scallions and green pepper. Cover and sear for about a minute. Remove cover. Toss vegetables, then cook until vegetables start to brown, about one minute more. Add chicken and let cook for one minute more.
2. Push the vegetables and chicken up the sides of the wok, creating an empty space at center. Add noodles to that space. Find a plate that just fits on top of the noodles, position it, and press down heavily for about a minute. Remove plate, turn noodles, and press plate for one minute more.
3. While the wok contents are cooking, stir together the hot chili bean sauce with the water in a small bowl. Reserve.
4. Toss all the contents of the wok together. Remove them from wok, placing on a serving platter. Pour reserved sauce over all, top with cilantro, and serve immediately.
*INGREDIENT NOTE: You can use any of the hot bean sauces with garlic and chili found in Chinese groceries. But the one I particularly like for this dish is the Hot Chili Bean Sauce with Garlic from the Hai Pao Wang company in Taiwan. The color (brownish red) and the texture (fairly puréed) are just right for this dish.
Photo by Susan, susan-thinkingoutloud.blogspot.com