Most cooks blanch dried egg noodles in hot water to soften them prior to stir frying. I don’t. I add the dried noodles directly to simmering broth and let them absorb the rich flavors of the liquid. You can use vegetable broth, or meat or seafood-based broth. Whatever your choice of broth base, I recommend homemade. And, for best results, simmer the broth until the liquid is reduced to half to really get concentrated flavors.
If you’re the kind of vegetarian who doesn’t eat eggs, then, you’ll want to use something other than egg noodles. There is a wide array of Asian noodles, most are good for stir fries, but note that each kind requires its own manner of preparation. So, if you substitute something else for the egg noodles, the procedure described below, meant for egg noodles, might not be applicable.
Meatless chow mein
- 2 tablespoon cooking oil divided
- 2 teaspoons garlic minced, divided
- 2 shallots thinly sliced, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger grated, divided
- 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups broth
- 150 grams dried egg noodles
- 1/3 cup julienned carrots julienned
- 1/3 cup green beans (Baguio beans a.k.a. French beans), thinly sliced
- 1 cup cabbage any variety, shredded
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon vegetarian oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- a drizzle of sesame seed oil
- Heat 1 tbsp. of cooking oil in a wok or frying pan. Saute 1 tbsp. of garlic and half of the shallots and ginger.
- Pour in a cup of broth and bring to the boil.
- Add the noodles, pressing down lightly to submerge them in the broth. Cook until the noodles have absorbed the liquid. Taste. If the noodles need longer cooking, add more broth, a little at a time, until the noodles are sufficiently soft for you. Set the cooked noodles aside.
- Wipe the wok or frying pan clean. Heat the remaining cooking oil. Saute the remaining garlic, shallot and ginger.
- Add the julienned carrot, sliced green beans and shredded cabbage. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir fry for a couple of minutes.
- Add the cooked noodles to the vegetables. Stir in the vegetarian oyster sauce and hoisin sauce. Stir fry just until everything is nicely blended.
- Off the fire, drizzle in the sesame seed oil. Toss a few times. Serve the chow mein hot.