Tonight we had huge noodle bowls for dinner, relying on fresh produce and poultry from our back yard or Conway Locally Grown. These noodle bowls are packed with veggies, spice, and cooling coconut milk (which, alas, is not local at all). Unfortunately, after I planned the dish, I discovered that my neglected fresh ginger was no longer fresh, so I found other ways to get ginger flavor. If you have fresh ginger, by all means grate it and use it. Use a wok for this one-pot meal.
- 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in half lengthwise and then thinly across the grain
- 1/4 cup Sriracha or homemade pepper sauce
- 2 tablespoons sherry
- 2 tablespoons extra-ginger ginger beer
- natural soy sauce
- walnut oil (or peanut oil)
- toasted sesame oil
- 2 small carrots, cut into pennies
- pickled ginger juice
- broccoli (garnish)
- pea pods (a couple of cups)
- big pile of shittake mushrooms, sliced
- 2 baby bok choy heads, trimmed and cut diagonally
- optional: splash of hoisin sauce
- 2 big pinches dried ginger
- 2 red peter or other hot pepper, seeded if you want, and then sliced thinly
- leek bottom, cut in half lengthwise, cleaned, and thinly sliced
- broccoli florets
- handful per person of prepared Thai rice noodles (like very white fettucini)
- 1/2 can to 1 whole can coconut milk (light okay)
In a good wok over high heat, pour in a little of the nut oil, add your carrots, and pour on a tablespoon or two of pickled ginger juice. Stir-fry the carrots until they get tender and maybe have a little caramelization on a few. Most of the liquid will have cooked off too. Distribute the carrots in the bowls you’ll be using for eating. Next, add a little toasted sesame oil, the snow peas, and a splash of soy sauce to the wok. You can add a splash of water too if you want, but make sure it all cooks down. Stir-fry the snow peas until they are tender. Portion them out in your eating bowls to one side.
Now it’s time to stir-fry the shittake mushrooms. Add a tiny bit of oil to the wok and toss in the mushrooms. The mushrooms will give up a little liquid; that’s good, as it will help them cook. Help them a little more by pouring in another splash of pickled ginger juice. Is most of the liquid cooked off? Out of the wok they go and into the bowls! Be sure to put them in the half where you didn’t put the snow peas.
Next toss in the sliced bok choy with a little more nut oil and some of that ginger juice. If you have it on hand, add a little hoisin sauce. As the liquid cooks down, find a spot in your bowls for the bok choy.
Next up are leeks and chile peppers. We just had a few florets of broccoli, so I added them in here. Same story–different verse. Use a little oil. Add a little more ginger juice if you think they need it. Add in the prepared rice noodles and stir-fry to combine. Plop in the bowls.
Now pour in 1/2 can to a whole can of coconut milk and heat until it gets bubbly.Distribute the chicken in the eating bowls and then pour on the coconut milk, which is now conveniently infused with all of the goodness that you stir-fried through the whole prep. Yes, we just used coconut milk to deglaze the wok.
Eat. Enjoy. Since we separated the elements as we stir-fried them and again going in the bowls, you can get a different mouthful of flavor each time you dive into the bowl and pull out a morsel. Use chopsticks for the most fun, with a soup spoon to get every tasty drop in the end.
This dish would be delicious with cilantro or Thai basil on top, but, alas, we had neither ready to pick right now. We also sometimes use Asian eggplant in this big bowl of yummy, but we don’t have that yet either. Feel free to substitute shrimp for the chicken.
What’s the largest number of local produce and protein that you’ve managed to get in a single dish? Do you cook a similar pan-Asian dish? Do tell!
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